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Full text of "The Princess Royal"

THE ^ -^Q^^i 

Kafhari7te Wylde, 

iVU 1 /IL. ^ ^^^. Bryaiifs Mistake,'' etc. 




In Three Volumes. 
Vol. III. 



LONDON : 

RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, 
PUBLISHERS IN ORDINARY 
TO HER MAJESTY the QUEEN 

J 89.1 

(All rights reserved. ) 



mc^^'i.m^fmmmF'ms: 



CONTENTS OF VOL. III. 



PART VII. 

D I LEM MA — CO?/ tin 21 ed ... . : . 


PAGE 

3 


PART VIII. 




The Relics 


•• 34 


PART IX. 




The Tragedy of Grace ... 


... 79 


PART X. 




The Tragedy of Gracy. {continued) ... 


... 203 




VOL. Ill, 



41 



" Time, which perfects some things, imperfects also 
others." 

" There is but One, the eternal Love, who knoweth 
The fond-eyed hopes we bury silently ; 
He knows the graveyard where the violet groweth, 
He knows the graveyards too of memory. 

" There blooms no violet, there no lamp is burning, 
No priest shall pray for these poor souls' release ; 
Be Thou their priest, O Lord, and stay their yearning, 
Speak Thou the word, O Lord, and grant us peace." 



iiiimiiiiiifiiiimfiiiJSJmfliiJiDffiiooQD ^^ 




THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 



PART VII. 

DILEMMA— contimied. 
CHAPTER VII. 

HE funeral took place, and all the 
county assembled to see the old man 
laid in the family vault. A few people won- 
dered at Gilbert's evident dejection, and 
remarked too on Lilith's controlled excite- 
ment. She was closely attended by Edward 
Vane, and that was remarked on too. 

After the breakfast the will was to be 
read in the library, and a large number of 
relatives were gathered to hear it. 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



** Do you wish the young man to be 
here ? " asked Mr. Wilkinson of Gilbert. 

Mr. Turold led the man of law aside. 

" You honestly believe the fellow's claim 
indisputable '^. " he questioned. 

'* I do ; unless the papers of which I hold 
copies are not forthcoming. If that were 
so you might get up a case. But he has 
the documents, Mr. Turold ; I have seen 
them." 

" He said something about possibly not 
presenting his claim. What should make 
him do that .^ " 

" I cannot imaoflne." 

" A flaw in it, eh .? " 

•' There is no flaw in it, I fear. I have 
looked into the matter according to your 
instructions. If he does not present his 
claim, I should say he was voluntarily re- 
nouncing In your favour." 

** Pshaw ! We are not on those terms. 
But he might think I should expect him 
to renew his engagement Well, let 



DILEMMA. 5 



him be fetched. We may as well get it 
over." 

Mr. Wilkinson went himself for Tom, 
whom he found superintending an auction of 
the furniture at Silcote Dene. 

The Turold relations meantime were very 
tired of the delay, and had discussed the 
position of Gilbert the heir, and of Lilith 
the heiress, and the prospects of little Mrs. 
Gascoigne, and of Edward Vane, and of the 
bourgeois lover who had lost his fortune 
and doubtless his bride, till they were sick 
of the family affairs and only longing for 
escape. 

At last, however, the door opened and 
the lawyer and the important people came 
in ; first, Lilith, very pretty in her crape 
and a little rosier than usual ; then her father, 
with his eyes on the ground and closely 
followed by Edward ; then, unaccountably, 
Tom Palmer, with his blind and impoverished 
father leaning on him ; and, lastly, the 
lawyers with the will. 



THE PRINCESS RO VAL. 



" I am requested by Mr. Gilbert Turold," 
said Mr. Wilkinson, *' to state that there is a 
surprise here. He has been informed of its 
nature himself ; so has Miss Turold, and, I 
believe, one or two others." 

Then the reading, wearisome enough, began; 
and it was announced that all the money 
(which was uncommonly little, less even 
than had been supposed), and all the heir- 
looms, and all the collections, and everything 
in the power of the testator, were to follow 
the real property to the heir of entail, with 
the exception of a few jewels bequeathed 
directly to Lilith, and certain very trifling 
legacies to servants and dependents. There 
was no surprise in all this, and the various 
cousins looked at each other and nodded, 
not disappointed, because they had had no 
expectations. 

The lawyer made a pause, and Lilith was 
pinching her fingers and wishing that the 
blood would bound a little less wildly through 
her veins; and both Gilbert Turold, from 



DILEMMA. 



the post of honour, and Tom Palmer, from 
his obscurity in the window, were looking 
straight before them and seeing nothing. 
The measured voice read on. 

The testator, who two hours before his 
death had added this statement to the tes- 
tament just read, pointed out that the heir 
of entail (here every one stared) was Thomas, 
born in the year 186-, only son of the 
testator's third son, Stephen, and of Catharine 
his wife, both deceased. 

The silence which followed this announce- 
ment was oppressive as a break in a clap of 
thunder, and no one dared to look at Gilbert 
Turold. But presently there was heard the 
blind man's voice, for, unable to see what 
was going on, the silence agitated him. 

*' My dear boy .-* my dear boy ? " said 
Mr. Palmer, inquiringly. 

Gilbert rose after this. 

'* I understand," he said, " that my father 
was satisfied by the claim of this person 
who represents himself to be the son of my 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



elder brother. As the next heir, I must of 
course see that his claim is indisputable before 
I relinquish mine." 

"The testator," said Wilkinson, ''put into 
my hands copies of certain documents, the 
originals being, I believe, in possession of 
the claimant. I will read the copies aloud, 
premising that I find no reason for suspecting 
the correctness of the information they fur- 
nish. You will form your own conclusions, 
gentlemen." 

He read on ; and no sooner was the name 
of Palmer mentioned than every one ven- 
tured to look at Tom, who flushed under 
this fire of eyes, but still stared straight 
before him into the grate. 

" All this goes for little, if the originals of 
these documents are not produced," ended 
Mr. Wilkinson, looking at Sir James Hun- 
tingtower, a renowned Q.C., and a cousin of 
Gilbert's. 

**The gentleman named is present," said 
Sir James ; " let him inform us." 



DILEMMA. 



Mr. Palmer, however, rose instead of Tom. 
He felt his way hesitatingly to the middle 
of the room, and stood leaning on the back 
of the Lady Caroline Vane's chair, rather to 
her disgust. 

" I'm come here with Tom," said Mr. 
Palmer, speaking with difficulty, for emotion 
made him hesitate, and his blindness bothered 
him, hiding from him the expression of the 
surrounding faces as well as their number, 
" to swear he's the same lad. He was left a 
h'orphan, and destitute, and my wife and me, 
who had no child, took him and bred him up 
as our own. We knew his father's name 
was Turold, and that he belonged to this 
family here, but we never told Tom ; and 
before God, I never knew till a twelvemonth 
ago that Tom was the heir or like to be, or 
had any claims for money or anything else 
from his father's family. Maybe I was 
careless not to make inquiries ; but he was 
a true son to me, and his own father was a 
disgrace to him, and I never meant anything 



lO THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



but the best ; and the moment I found I had 
gone down in the world, and couldn't do for 
him so well as I had 'oped, I gave him up to 
his own people." 

Mr. Wilkinson listened to this with some 
impatience. 

'' You are prepared," he said, '' to swear 
that he is the son of the late Stephen 
Turold ? — And you, sir," he turned to Tom, 
" can you produce the originals of the docu- 
ments I have just read } " 

Lilith felt nearly sick with excitement. 
The tone of respect in which the lawyer 
spoke to her lover, the silence and attention 
of all in the room, convinced her that no one 
was going to dispute his claim, and that he 
was already recognized as the head of the 
family. He was known now like the dis- 
guised prince of a fairy tale, and her choice 
was vindicated. But would Tom produce 
the papers } He had spoken to her of 
burning them ; of abolishing his claim, and 
leaving her father at Turold Royal, content 



DILEMMA. n 



himself eventually to gain his own place 
there by his wife's right, not his own. Lilith 
had thought the matter over long and 
anxiously ; she was romantic, and she had 
quite decided that this was what she hoped 
her lover would do. It would show Tom to 
be magnanimous ; it would gain him the 
admiration of the whole world ; it would 
leave her father on the throne which he 
became so well. And somehow — so at least 
it seemed to Lilith — it would prove that she 
and her betrothed saw things from the same 
point of view, and that he didXov^ her, and 
did mean to marry her. She listened with 
the keenest attention, hoping against hope ; 
and ready, when he had made his gene- 
rous renouncement, his great self-sacrifice, 
to reward him by falling publicly into his 
arms and vowing that, penniless or not, 
Turold or Palmer, she would be his wife on 
the morrow — if he wished it. 

Why, oh ! why did that hateful little con- 
dition start up in her mind even at this 



12 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

minute ? Why could she not believe in his 
love as she had done a year ago ? 

Tom was speaking now. 

*' It has been a great blow to me," he 
said, "to find I am not Mr. Palmer's son. 
I shall never think of any one else as my 
father. But here are the papers ; and on 
the faith of them and of his word, I present 
myself as Thomas Charles Turold, and claim 
to be acknowledged as my grandfather's 
heir." He handed the documents to Gilbert, 
who, after a glance shared by Edward, 
passed them on to Sir James Huntingtower ; 
and the various relatives all crowded 
together to look. 

Tom, having made his statement, was 
waiting quietly and looking out of the 
window, so that he did not observe poor 
Lilith's disappointment. The tears slowly 
filled her eyes and trickled down her cheeks. 
He was not magnanimous ! he had not 
uttered even a word of demur, or an expres- 
sion of regret, or of sympathy with the man 



DILEMMA. 13 



he was displacing ; he was acting just as 
Mr. Anybody-out-of-the-Street might have 
done. The haughty, supercilious relatives, 
whom Lillth half reverenced and half de- 
tested, would see In him nothing more than 
a tiresome Interloper, when he might have 
appeared before them as a hero. She was 
disappointed ; and yet, and yet, she would 
have acquiesced in his attitude and forgiven 
him everything, If at that moment he would 
have turned round and smiled at her, and 
claimed her before all these people as his 
own, with eyes of love. 

But Tom was paying no attention to his 
sweetheart, nor attempting In any way to 
associate her In his triumph ; he was look- 
ing out of the window. And he saw two 
curious-looking men advancing to the en- 
trance. Presently he heard a ring. Oddly 
observant, considering how involuntary was 
his attention, Tom next heard a colloquy 
with Yates ; then the library door was opened 
a very little, and the two men peeped in, 



14 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



and then they took up a station beside it, 
watching all that went on in the room, while 
Yates, with a disturbed air, hovered around 
them. 

" I suppose, Gilbert, you don't think of 
disputing this?" said Sir James Hunting- 
tower at last, handing the precious papers 
back to Tom. 

'' Not at present," replied Gilbert, dryly. 

" To avoid possible future trouble," con- 
tinued Sir James, addressing the claimant, 
** it will be well to take the matter into 
court and get your position publicly recog- 
nized ; but it will be a mere form. It only 
remains for us now," he continued rather 
loudly, ''to shake hands with Mr. Turold 
and offer him our congratulations." 

Tom bowed his acknowledgments, but 
stiffly, and did not seem inclined to shake 
hands with any one. The impression he 
made was not particularly favourable. 

'' There is one thing I should like to 
explain," said Gilbert, having sent Lilith 



DILEMMA. T 5 



from the room ; " I had no suspicion of 
my nephew's existence till five days ago, 
and was no party to the proposed patching 
up of the affair by marrying him to my 
daughter. You are aware," he said, ad- 
dressing Tom, " how strenuously I all along 
opposed that engagement ? " 

Tom bowed again. 

'* But now, Gilbert," said Lord Erping- 
ham, who always took a great interest in 
other men's matters, *' that romantic affair 
will no doubt assume a different and a more 
attractive complexion." 

Silence on Tom's part at this juncture was 
a little surprising. 

" Would it be indiscreet," continued the 
nobleman, with the rather patronizing air of 
an arbitrator, '* to inquire how much of this 
you, sir, knew yourself when you courted 
your cousin } " 

Tom resented the interference. 

" Yes," he said with some temper, " I am 
afraid it might be a little indiscreet." 



1 6 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Perhaps, uncle, I may answer your ques- 
tion without indiscretion," said Edward Vane, 
in his usual covertly sneering tone. " Old 
Mr. Turold's ingenuity could never have 
commended itself to Tom. He has no 
yearning to hide his light under a bushel. 
As soon as he knew of his claim he hurried 
to present it." 

"And quite right too," said Sir James, 
who detested Edward. 

** I resolved to take m.y place," flashed 
out Tom. 

A little group, of which he was the tallest, 
had formed round him, and for some reason 
they all, and Edward foremost, seemed to 
him enemies. 

" To my thinking," observed Lord Erping- 
ham, "it's a charming thing that you are 
engaged td your cousin." 

" If he is," said Edward. 

" My dear Ned," urged Lord Erpingham, 
quickly, "every one must see it's desirable. 
Even a rival suitor must acknowledge that." 



DILEMMA. 1 7 



Tom still said nothing, and Lord Erping- 
ham felt inclined to shake him. 

Edward laughed a little. 

" Gilbert had broken the engagement off," 
he said to his uncle, Lord Erpingham, in a 
low, explanatory voice, which was yet dis- 
tinctly audible ; '' that must have been irri- 
tating to the new cousin, and there would 
be a slight temptation to the carnal man 
to show Gilbert that he had cut his nose by 
spiting his face." 

" Oh, nonsense ! " said Lord Erpingham, 
aloud ; " motives of that sort do not obtain 
among fair-minded people. The matter 
must be viewed with common sense. If 
Gilbert was a little hot — all these Turolds 
are hot — he had provocation. The tables 
have been so completely turned, that he 
deserves a little generosity. Don't you agree 
with me ? " he said, addressing Tom, who in 
his opinion was not showing the alacrity be- 
coming in a member of the family. "• There 
is no one who would not like to see our 

VOL. ni. 42 



l8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

pretty princess still at Turold Royal, and — 
God bless my soul ! — it was supposed to be 
a love affair ! " 

Tom felt a stab at his heart ; he could 
have made a hundred gentle answers had he 
been quite certain that Lilith trusted and 
wholly loved him. 

"Certainly, it was a love affair," he 
answered; "but Mr. Turold told me his 
daughter could not marry the son of a bank- 
rupt tradesman. I wish it to be clearly 
understood that I am the son of the bank- 
rupt tradesman still." 

"Oh," cried the nobleman, "but that's 
absurd to take offence at an expression 
when the whole circumstances are changed. 
Here, Gilbert, if you have offended your 
nephew, even though offence is unreason- 
able, you must apologize, my dear fellow. 
It will be a deuced pity if you two begin 
by malice and uncharitableness. Let me 
have the pleasure of blighting this incipient 
quarrel ; for the sake of pretty Miss Lilith's 



DILEMMA. 19 



bright eyes, eh ? Here, Ned, you are 
intimate with both parties ; join me in 
making peace, eh ? " 

"Not I," said Edward; "the peacemaker 
always gets his head smashed, especially 
when he doesn't know how far the quarrel 
has gone nor what it s about." 

*' There has been no quarrel," said Tom ; 
*' and Lilith is still wearing the ring I gave 
her." 

'• Not with my consent," said Gilbert 
Turold, quickly. " I ended the engagement 
for excellent reasons, which are not proved 
insufficient. The leopard doesn't change his 
spots even when he changes his name." 

" My dear Gilbert," cried the peacemaker, 
" what an unlucky simile ! Spots sound 
something disagreeable ; though, when you 
come to think of It, they are the leopard's 
beauty. Come, come, come, everything is 
changed. Let me beg you both — for the 
family credit, eh ?— to let bygones be bygones, 
to wipe out old scores, and to start afresh 



20 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

on good terms with each other, and above 
all with the heroine of the love-story, poor 
child." 

'* There was a whisper of two heroines," 
murmured Edward. 

'' Would you speak a little louder, Mr. 
Vane ? " said Tom, taking a step towards 
him. *' What did you say ? " 

" I ? oh, nothing, nothing ! I don't sympa- 
thize in the least with Lord Erpingham. I 
think he's fighting in the dark, and will have 
his head smashed. Does it strike you, uncle, 
that Mr. Turold looks grateful for your 
advice ? " 

" I should like him to realize," said Lord 
Erpingham, pompously, "that he has great 
moral obligations towards our old friend. 
Legal obligations there appear to be none ; 
but in every branch of our family, I am glad 
to say debts of honour have been considered 
first." 

" Take care how you prove too much," 
said Tom, bitterly. '* For Heaven's sake, let 



DILEMMA. 21 



me go ! My lord, I am not ungrateful for 
advice, but I fear you won't think I have 
remembered it when I begin to take the 
advantages this position offers me. Mr. 
Vane, there never were two heroines, as you 
know better than any one." 

" Did I say something about two heroines ? " 
said Edward ; '' stay a minute, and let me 
think." 

" Think as long as you choose ; but if you 
repeat the expression," said Tom, '' I shall 
answer you in a way you will resent." 

He was silent for a moment, looking 
down upon Edward's contemplative coun- 
tenance. 

'' Upon my soul, I forget all about it," 
said Edward, in his most natural manner. 

'*That is very wise of you," returned 
Tom, stepping out of the group which 
parted to let him pass. " Come, father, let 
us get home," he said with involuntary 
sternness, as he drew the blind man's arm 
in his. And they went out together, all the 



2 2 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

relations following them with their eyes, and 
far from sure that in this new head of the 
family they had found an agreeable addition 
to their number. 

" I hope we have done nothing rash," said 
Sir James. 

" He must be made to marry Gilbert's 
daughter," returned Lord Erpingham. 

*' Oh, you know," said Edward, *' he never 
really meant to marry her. It was all part 
of a plot. There was some understanding 
with the Kidsons all along, and now the 
very modern Miss Kidson is to be mistress 
at the Court, and good Sir Joseph is to see 
old Palmer out of his difficulties." 

" Then the young man is a scoundrel ! " 
cried Lord Erpingham, '* as might be ex- 
pected of Stephen's descendant. But what's 
all this noise in the hall ? " 

Tom and the man whom he still called his 
father had left the library together. They 
were stopped by Yates. 

" Beg pardon, sir " he began apologeti- 



DILEMMA. 



cally ; but the blind man, not noticing the 
interruption, was for passing on. 

One of the two persons whom Tom had 
seen watching through the door checked him. 

'• Are you John Palmer ? " asked this man, 
roughly seizing his arm. 

As by a flash of lightning, Tom understood. 

" For God's sake, Mr. Tom, be careful ! " 
said Yates, striking the son's arm up when 
he would have interfered ; *' they've got the 
law of him." 

Then the library door re-opened, and the 
relatives looked out to see what the talking 
was. 

" I arrest you, John Palmer," said the 
constable, "on a warrant at the instance of 
George Stirke of Leadenhall Street. You 
will please to follow me quietly, sir." 

" Heaven s will be done ! " said the victim, 
faintly. 

" Good God ! " ejaculated Tom, aware 
that resistance would be as vain as in- 
judicious. " Show me your warrant, man." 



24 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Tom," said Mr. Palmer, " it's the Lord's 
will, and we must bear it. I've seen you 
righted first, my dear lad, and in your own 
house." 

" And is this the first thing to happen in 
my own house '^. " said Tom. 

''What is the matter?" asked Gilbert 
Turold, advancing. 

*' I assure you, gentlemen, we are doing 
no more than our duty," said the constable, 
angrily. 

They hustled him off, one of the men 
dragging him by the arm, the other guarding 
against what might be interference from 
Tom ; while all the Turold relatives hung 
together in a knot watching this strange 
termination of their meeting. The officer 
was either unaware of his prisoners blind- 
ness or ignorant how to treat it ; he hurried 
Mr. Palmer along in a manner which terrified 
and made him awkward. Arrived at the 
flight of stone steps, he had no warning ; 
consequently lost his footing and fell heavily, 



DILEMMA. 25 



Still held by the arm, and rolling round to 
his captor s feet. 

A curse burst from Tom's lips. Thrust- 
ing the officers aside, he raised the shaken 
and trembling man like a child, and set him 
on his feet, still supporting him. 

''Yates, get me some wine," he said 
authoritatively. 

" I'm none the worse, Tom," gasped poor 
Mr. Palmer. "• I beg your pardon, my men, 
for being so clumsy. I'll go on, my dear 
boy, now ; but they'll let you give me a 
hand down the steps.'' 

Presently the cab, with the prisoner and 
the two constables, had driven away; and 
the young master of the house was standing 
in the Tudor hall, leaning against the panel- 
ling, sick at heart as he faced the whole 
wondering group of his new-found relatives. 
He wanted to explain to them that Mr. 
Palmer was as innocent as a child, but no 
words came to his lips. At this juncture 
they all felt a little sorry for him, and 



26 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Gilbert was even debating if he might not 
say something avuncular and kind. 

At last Edward's clear, polite, mock sym- 
pathetic voice was heard. 

" You've arranged with Kidson to bail 
him out, haven't you, Tom ? Gilbert, you 
look anxious ; don't you think some of 
Tom's enigmas are explained now ? We 
have seen Mr. Palmer arrested for these 
frauds, but I fancy — I hope — there is no 
ground for apprehension of any further 
arrest ? " 

A sentence scarcely more lucid than some 
of Tom's own ; but the latter saw through it 
so clearly as to suppose its insulting tenor 
patent to every one. He retorted at once 
by striking Edward lightly in the face. 

" The word ' fraud ' shall not be used in 
my hearing in connection with my father," 
he said. 

Edward laughed. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

ONSTERNATION is the only word 
to describe the feelings of the party 
left behind at Turold Royal, when they were 
rid of the presence of the heir. Upstairs in 
her room, Lilith had cried her eyes red, and 
was now ashamed to go down again among 
the guests. But she could not avoid an 
interview with Lady Caroline Vane and 
Lady Huntingtower, who gave her a garbled 
and alarming account of what had taken 
place, and especially of the insult to Edward. 
A blow was a thing gentle Lilith had never 
even heard of in polite circles, and she 
reiterated with an emphasis which showed 
her dismay : 



2S THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" But it must have been an accident. 
Tom couldn't possibly have done any such 
thing. He couldn't indeed : it's Impossible. 
You must have misunderstood. I am quite 
sure if you ask Edward he will tell you it 
was an accident." 

" Certainly Edward laughed and pre- 
tended to think it an accident," said Lady 
Caroline ; " Edward is all kindness and for- 
bearance, and had been in the very act of 
expressing sympathy." 

" I am quite sure you are mistaken," cried 
Lilith, again ; " I know Tom better than 
any of you. I know he couldn't have done 
it." 

** I never saw him till to-day," said the 
languid Lady Huntingtower ; '' after being 
prepared, my dear Lilith, to like him for 
your sake, I must confess to finding him 
a deplorably rough diamond." 

'* I am thankful to hear from your father, 
my dear," added Lady Caroline, ** that your 
engagement is broken off. My own firm 



DILEMMA, 29 



conviction all along has been that that young 
man drinks. I remember thinking so the 
first day I saw him, and of course if he's 
poor wretched Stephen's son, it's as good as 
proved." 

** My engagement is not broken off!" 
cried Lilith, her blue eyes flaming ; '' and 
it is simply silly. Lady Caroline, to say such 
things of Tom ! " 

"Certainly," observed Lady Huntingtower, 
" your supposition, Caroline, might account 
for his behaviour to your son." 

" I shall tell your father, Lilith," said 
Lady Caroline, rising, " that in my judgment 
it would be ruinous to let you marry such 
a person for the sake of the estate. If 
Gilbert should be tempted, let him remember 
that his motives and his conduct will be 
most severely criticized throughout the 
family." 

** Oh, do please go away," said Lilith ; 
*' none of you understand, none of you 
understand I '' 



30 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Tom meantime had returned alone to 
Silcote Dene. At a little distance from the 
Court he had paused and looked back at the 
house ; studying the windows, and chiefly 
that one from which, in happier times, Lilith 
had watched his coming and going. She 
was not there to-day. He went home and 
found the house at Silcote Dene dismantled, 
dark, desolate, with straws lying about in the 
hall ; while the blue satin, the gilt mirrors, 
the Turkey carpets, the orchids he used to 
pick for his sweetheart, the palms under 
which she had sat with him not a week ago, 
were all gone, or in progress of going, which 
was more dreary still. Mrs. Palmer, weary 
and, untidy, sat in the morning-room, shorn 
of its splendour, but still habitable ; Louisa 
was cutting out a dress by the help of 
crackling paper patterns ; Norah reading 
aloud in the dramatic-by-recipe manner 
inculcated at the High School. To Tom, 
whose thoughts were all with Lilith, these 
three seemed at that moment strangely 



DILEMMA, 31 



unlovely specimens of womanhood. But it 
was these three who belono^ed to him. Did 
Lilith ? 

'' Mother," said Tom, the blood mounting 
slowly in his face as he spoke, " did they 
come here to look for him ? Father has not 
come home with me. I'd have cut my arm 
off rather than have seen it, but it has 
happened. He has been arrested. Mother ! 
neither he nor you seem to understand one 
thing. It is hateful to admit that you are 
not my parents ; but the fact gives me power 
to help him now. Don't be too much dis- 
tressed, mother ; we shall have him back 
with us very soon, and his name shall be 
cleared ; as sure as " — he bent over the 
weeping woman and kissed her, smiling 
cheerfully, "as sure as my name is — Tom 
Palmer." 

Before going to bed that night and not 
without hesitation and the writing of several 
rough copies, Tom accomplished a letter to 
Mr. Wilkinson. This is what he wrote. 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



" As it had been my grandfather's dying intention to 
put a charge on the property for the benefit of my uncle 
Mr. Gilbert Turold, I propose to arrange with the 
executors that his wish should be carried out ; and I shall 
be glad if you will ascertain as early as possible what 
sum would meet my uncle's wishes, and be just and fair 
to all parties. I have other matters on which I must 
speak to Mr. Turold, but I want this question between 
us settled first." 



Tom sat for a long time with the pen in 
his hand before he could bring himself to 
write his own signature : Thomas Charles 
Turold. 

At the Court, Lord Erpingham was still 
labouring in the interests of peace, and he 
held up the above communication as 
eminently satisfactory, eventually indeed 
persuading Gilbert to accept the offer it 
contained of a younger son's portion. 

Tom breathed a little more freely. 
Then he spent a long time with Mr. 
Wilkinson and his partner and learned a 
great deal of the family circumstances. 
And then he had consultations with the 



DILEMMA. 



Zl 



executors and trustees and other people, 
till he had arrived at a tolerably clear 
conception of his position, its possibilities 
and its duties. 



aJ*^ 




VOL. III. 



43 



PART VIII. 

THE RELICS. 
CHAPTER I. 



HEN Tom next presented himself at 
Turold Royal, he found Yates, long 
friendly, now obsequious ; Tamburlaine and 
Bajazet seemed also to have learned the 
facts, and they attached themselves to the 
steps of the new master. But he had to 
wait a long time in the library before 
Gilbert Turold came down, and to Yates's 
astonishment he declined to see Lllith. 

At last the elder man entered, looking 
greatly harassed, for trouble shows plainly 
on the faces of those no longer young. Tom 
was just beginning to speak, when Lilith 



THE RELICS. 35 



also came into the room, and, as he scarcely 
offered to greet her, took a chair in the back- 
ground. She was very pale ; all her aching 
doubts had revived, indeed had become to 
her almost certainties ; and there was no- 
thing in Tom's manner at this moment to 
reassure her. Feeling that the crisis had 
arrived, she determined to meet it at least 
halfway and with courage and dignity. 

" Go on," said Gilbert, to his nephew, 
" say what you wish, and have done with 
it." 

'' I have come in the first place," said 
Tom, very slowly, '' and it pains me so much 
that I can hardly utter the words, to break 
off my engagement to Lilith. God help 
me ! " added his heart, silently. 

'' Well," said Mr. Turold, shrugging his 
shoulders, " I have so often urged you to 
this step, that I cannot complain. If you 
had done it a little sooner, it would have 
been more courteous to my daughter." 

" You think it is because I care for her 



36 . THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

less," said Tom, afraid to look at Lilith, yet 
aware that she was manifesting no surprise, 
but pride only, suggestive of the offended 
princess rather than of the tender Lilith of 
his love : '' it is not that. It is because I 
am going to do what I cannot think that she 
or you will like, though I do hope to show 
you that it is inevitable. I want Lilith 
to be free to judge about it ; as my cousin, 
nothing more." 

*' Well, what are you going to do ? But 
I know of course ; all these words are need- 
less. You are going to marry your friend, 
Miss Kidson." 

'' No," said Tom, coldly, from excess of 
emotion. '* I have no thought of marrying 
any one but Lilith." 

He did look at her this time ; but she 
resolutely refused to meet his eye, and Tom 
noticed that she had taken off the two rines 
he had given her and laid them on the table. 
*' She does not believe me," he said to him- 
self. 



THE RELICS. 37 



'' Then I am at a loss," returned Mr. 
Turold, coldly. 

Tom rested his head on his hand and was 
silent for a moment. Should he further 
rebut this slander about Grace, or should he 
not ? 

" Mr. Turold, I would give a great deal 
to be able to say, * Stay on with Lilith in this 
house.' I can't. I can get a higher rent 
for it," said Tom, blunt in his distress, " than 
what you could give me, and so I am going 
to let it to the highest bidder." 

'' Let Turold Royal .^ What do you 
mean ? The Court has been in the occupa- 
tion of my family for six hundred years. 
How can you dream of letting it ? " 

" There is nothing to prevent my letting 
it," said Tom. " I am going to let it for 
the same reason that father is selling Silcote 
Dene. Because we want money. He has 
very extensive liabilities, and what is worse, 
his honesty has been called in question. I 
am thankful to be able to ri^ht him, and I 



38 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

mean to do it. But I must do more than 
let the house ; and I don't want to damage 
the estate. There are things in this house, 
curious, useless things, but worth a great 
deal. I am going to sell them." 

** Tom ! " exclaimed Lilith, starting up ; 
but her father silenced her. He had flushed 
strangely ; very much annoyed before, he 
was now furious. 

" You shall not do it,' he said. '' I repeat, 
you shall not do it. It is robbery." 

" Can you prevent me ? " said Tom, 
gravely. " I have consulted the lawyers 
and the trustees. The things I allude to 
are in my power as much as this table or this 
chair. Some of them — not all, I hope 
nothing like all — must go. I have presented 
my claim to this property, and I shall make 
it good solely with the intention of doing 
this, Mr. Turold, and at the earliest moment. 
You cannot hinder me. There is too much 
at stake." 

*' You infernal young scoundrel ! " cried 



THE RELICS. 



Gilbert, walking about in the greatest 
agitation. ''It is the most sacrilegious 
conduct I ever heard of. You are revealing 
yourself at last In your true colours. Every- 
thing Vane has told me of you Is justified." 

" Vane has poisoned your mind till you 
will not even hear what I have to say ! " 
cried Tom, his temper rising at the name. 
"Mr. Turold, you saw John Palmer arrested. 
He is to be prosecuted for a fraud, a bad 
fraud for which he Is I fear legally respon- 
sible, — for which, being an honest man, he 
holds himself responsible ; but of which he 
is personally innocent as a child. I say he 
is innocent as a child. If it comes to a trial, 
I have grave doubts of his escape. Whether 
he escape or not, he will He under a stigma 
of dishonour unless the money Is refunded. 
To me he has been, he is, he always will 
be " 

''That Is enough," Interrupted Mr. Turold; 
" I understand. You are going to dissipate 
the treasures of my family which accident 



40 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

has put in your grasp, and for which my 
ancestors have often paid their blood, for the 
screening of a common swindler " 

'' No ! " said Tom, striking his hand with 
violence on the table, '' in my house no one 
shall speak of screening, nor call my father 
a swindler ! If you repeat it you shall not 
stay here, not for a day." 

What retort Gilbert Turold might have 
made to this, and his eye betokened that it 
was about to be a very angry one, was 
hindered by Lilith, who now came forward, 
her head erect, her cheek flushed. 

'* You forget yourself, Tom," she said, her 
voice quivering. " How can you speak to 
my father in that manner ? I could never 
have believed you would have spoken so. 
Have you not injured papa enough without 
insulting him ? " 

"• Judge for yourself, Lilith," said Mr. 
Turold ; " even you can be blinded no 
longer. After declining to release you from 
an insane engagement, when you had a 



THE RELICS. 4 1 



position and he had none, this man comes 
here to-day as the important landowner, 
openly to jilt the dowerless girl whom he 

has displaced " He checked himself, 

frightened by Lilith's pallor. 

But again she summoned pride to her 
assistance. 

"It is my own wish," she said, with 
dignity. 

" He does not want you, my dear," con- 
tinued Mr. Turold ; '* and you see he 
tramples on your beautiful home. Now you 
know the sort of man," concluded Gilbert 
with eloquence, *' to whom my daughter 
wished to sell herself ; for modern diamonds, 
Lilith ; false, I dare say, as his professions." 

" Mr. Turold," said Tom, " I have no 
more to explain to you. I require to be left 
now to speak alone with Lilith." 

Upon this he insisted, but not without an 
altercation, which agitated the girl still more 
and was damaging to his own self-possession 
and temper. 



42 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 



'' Tom — " said Lilith, moving towards him 
with her hands stretched out despairingly, 
" say to me at once that it is not true ! " 

"That the diamonds were false?" said 
Tom, bitterly. " I think they were false as 
my professions indeed ! " 

" Oh, Tom, you break my heart ! But is 
it true that you are going to sell the things 
I love ? " 

" Does that include the toys I gave you ? " 

" How can I love them if you are false ? 
But I mean the things belonging to Turold 
Royal, which I have known and valued and 
reverenced all my life, and which you, Tom, 
scarcely ventured to touch till a week ago." 

" It is true, Lilith." 

" It is not true that you were insolent to 
papa, and to the others ? It is not true that 
you struck Edward ? At least I may deny 
that ! " 

" I believe I did strike Edward. And he 
has pocketed the affront," said Tom with 
a laugh. 



THE RELICS. 43 



Lillth knew little about pocketing affronts ; 
she did know that blows were horrible. 

" Oh, Tom, I have been mistaken in you. 
They told me you were not what I thought. 
It seems they were right. You are false to 
me ; you have insulted my cousin ; you have 
robbed and threatened papa ; and you are 
going to ruin our house and throw away our 
precious things. Oh, you have broken my 
heart. Let me go, Tom. It is over." 

"■ They are my things, not yours," said 
Tom. "It is my house, not yours. I have 
robbed no one ; and this is my room, and 
neither you nor I shall leave it, Lilith, till 
you have heard me speak. I am not your 
husband, but I have been near enough to 
you to insist on my right of explanation. It 
is easier than I expected, upon my word ; for 
your cruelty makes me care less about hurt- 
ing you." 

Lilith moved to the window, that he 
might not see her tears ; and Tom went on, 
after a few minutes, in a different tone : 



44 , THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Lillth ! I never thought I should be 
angry with you. I did not mean to speak 
to you Hke that. Dear — forgive me. Let 
me try and explain quietly." 

Lilith was touched, and she almost came 
back to her lover, and threw herself into his 
arms. But if he were false ? She stood still 
at the window with her back to him. 

" Lilith, you heard what I said about my 
father. He has been accused of swindling. 
The charge is a lie ; but unless, in a sense, 
it should become true, this money must be 
found, not as a bribe or a screen — good God, 
no ! — as simple restitution to the man who 
has been injured. But my father is old, 
blind, and bankrupt. He is helpless. Lilith, 
he has a son : a son who finds means in his 
possession more than sufficient to pay the 
debt. What kind of son would he be who 
shut his hand upon riches, and left his father 
to bankruptcy, to shame, to imprisonment, 
and to forced dishonesty ? Answer me, 
Lilith." 



THE RELICS. 45 



*' Your father, Tom, was my uncle 
Stephen," murmured the girl. 

"■ Do not say It ! I owe nothing to him, 
but my bare existence. Nor to his family. 
They did nothing for me. It may not have 
been their fault ; I don't think It was ; but 
they did nothing. That other did all. He 
saved me, fed me, gave me education, affec- 
tion, a home, happiness, all there is which 
makes existence worth having. He is my 
father ; and I would rather perish In hell fire 
than turn my back on him now when he 
wants assistance." 

"■ I know, Tom," said Lillth ; " you ought to 
do something for him. But not by being 
wicked to other people. My father has not 
injured you that you should harm him. 
Nothing can make it right that you should 
ruin and sell the things belonging to us — to 
the Turolds — for the good of Mr. Palmer, 
who is nothing at all to us." Lillth was not 
logical, but this was her own sweet voice 
again, and Tom felt more hopeful of 



46 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

eventually making her comprehend. He 
came a step nearer. " If," continued Lilith, 
tearfully, partly turning towards him, *' you 
had done what you talked about, what I 
couldn't help hoping, Tom, that you would 
do, — if you hadn't insisted upon your rights, 
but had left all that to papa — then indeed 
you could have stayed with Mr. Palmer and 
been his son to the end, and helped him as 
much as you liked without injuring anybody. 
Oh, I would have loved you if you had done 
that!" 

'' But don't you see, Lilith ! " cried Tom, 
expostulatingly, '' to renounce my rights 
was to renounce the power of helping him, 
the very thing I was praying to have ! If 
you will think for a single moment, surely 
you will understand ! " Tom should of 
course have left it there ; but hard things 
had been said to him, and he went on, 
foolishly enough. '' Under the circum- 
stances, I do not expect you to marry me, 
Lilith ; I have given up all hope of that. 



THE RELICS, 47 



But I think you should make some effort to 
understand. Have you no sense of pro- 
portionate values ? You want me to sacrifice 
the reputation of a good, brave man, to 
whom personally I owe everything, for 
a question of who shall inhabit a house, 
and who shall own a few odds and ends, 
mere luxuries, of no use to any mortal, 
for the most part of a purely fictitious 
value " 

Lilith dashed her tears away, and took her 
hands from her face. 

'* They are of value ! " she cried, " of the 
greatest value. They are symbols, history, 
honour, reverence " 

" Sentiment ! " suggested Tom. 

No word exists more irritatinof than senti- 
ment. 

'' What do you mean by that '^, " cried the 
girl. " Is everything sentiment, except 
pounds, shillings, and pence .'^ No wonder 
you have ceased to care for me. You think 
that * sentiment,' I suppose ? Tom, you can 



48 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

help Mr. Palmer without this ! As you 
think Love ' sentiment,' and as you care only 
for money, and are tired of me, you can 
marry Grace Kidson and be as rich as you 
wish." 

Tom turned white and his eyes flashed. 

"■ What is it you say, Lilith ? You prefer 
my marrying Grace Kidson to selling off 
this rubbish ? " 

'' I don't care two straws whom you 
marry ! " cried Lilith, desperately. 

" Good God ! " said Tom, seizing her by 
the wrists and holding her at arm's length ; 
''you would sell yourself, I believe, for 
this trash, since you are so ready to sell 
me!" 

" Let me go ! " said Lilith, frightened. 
" Our love is over, Tom ! " 

'' Over ? It has never existed. God in 
heaven ! You don't know what love is, 
child ! You bid me go and marry Grace 
as if you were bidding me change my coat ! 
You are the same girl who kissed me 



THE RELICS. 49 



without intendinsf it, and then told me to 
forget because I was not one of you." 

''Let me go!" repeated LiHth, striving 
to escape, her cheeks dyed with fright and 
with resentment at this allusion. " I wish I 
had never kissed you. Let me go ! " 

At the words there surged up in Tom's 
mind the sense of all he was losing ; though 
she was proved a frail creature whose kisses 
were meaningless and who did not know what 
love meant. Unheeding her protests, he 
strained her roughly to his heart and crushed 
his lips passionately upon hers. In her 
antagonism and her helplessness, Lilith 
screamed. 




VOL. III. 44 







Eii[sJraJr^rciJrciJ[gi^RJrsJrBJrBJi^JTst^i^rBJr^f^FgjfgT5J'^ 



CHAPTER II. 

" Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part — 

Nay, I have done, you get no more of me : 
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart, 

That thus so cleanly I myself can free ; 
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows, 

And when we meet at any time again. 
Be it not seen in either of our brows 

That we one jot of former love retain. 
Now at the last gasp of love's latest breath, 

When, his pulse failing, passion speechless lies, 
When faith is kneeling by his bed of death, 

And innocence is closing up his eyes, — 
Now if thou would'st, when all have given him over, 
From death to life thou might'st him yet recover ! " 



ERY true ; but then there must be no 
intervening of other people ; their 
touch is murderous. 

Tom kissed LiHth against her will, and 



THE RELICS. 5 1 



very roughly. And Lilith screamed. Then 
came Edward Vane's clear, cold voice. 

'' Drop Miss Turold's arm this instant ! 
How dare you insult her ? " 

The interruption recalled Tom to his 
senses, and he released the girl at once, with 
a quick motion of penitence. The over- 
wrought and terrified Lilith was caught by 
her cousin ; her wrists were purple from her 
lover's grasp, and her limbs trembled. 

*' Curse you!" said Edward. 

And Tom flung him the curse back, with 
a sickening revulsion of feeling, an agony of 
remorse and jealousy. For a moment a wall 
of blackness rose before his eyes and a roar- 
ing of the sea in his ears. A pit seemed to 
open at his feet, into which he was falling. 
Were his senses leaving him, then '^ 

Edward always saw everything ; as he 
gently drew Lilith from the room, he pointed 
out to her that Tom staggered, and he 
shrugged his shoulder and glanced at a 
spirit-decanter on a side-table. 



</WIV£fiSITy Of ILUIWU 



52 , THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" He has been drinking," said Edward. 

Revenge Is always sweet, and this was his 
revenge for the day when LIHth, in the temple 
at Koorneh, had fled from himself to Tom. 

'' What on earth is the matter '^. " cried 
Gilbert Turold, when he saw his daughter, 
white as a lily, and forced almost into 
hysterics by Edward's skilful fomenting of 
her agitation. " Have you had an accident, 
my dear love ? " 

" That drunken blackguard has Insulted 
her," said Edward. 

*' Drunken ! " echoed Mr. Turold, remem- 
bering the mare's nest of Lady Caroline's 
discovery ; '' Impossible ! It never even 
struck me ! Is that the meaning of it, 
then ? Ah, Stephen's son. Stephen's son ! 
What did he do to you, LIHth .^ " 

"He kissed her," said Edward, dryly, still 
standing over Lllith and fanning her. 

Mr. Turold rescued his daughter from 
her too solicitous cousin, and helped her to 
recover a little equanimity. 



THE RELICS. 53 



"My poor child !" he said presently ; "this 
is very painful, Lilith, but we must bear it 
and help each other. We must prepare to 
leave the house, my darling. We cannot 
remain here after this." 

" Oh, papa," said Lilith, " I am sorry he 
spoke to you so. But indeed he thinks he 
is doing right. He is so fond of that poor 
blind man." 

" Lilith," said Edward, '' you must hear 
the truth. The blind man is a thief. 
Virtuous men do not sacrifice themselves 
for thieves. Tom himself is compromised ; 
mixed up in this swindle. That is why, at 
all hazards, he must stop the prosecution." 

Lilith looked up with a scared counte- 
nance ; and her father said : 

" Good heavens ! Edward, what have you 
to go upon in saying this ? " 

"Common sense," said Edward, un- 
moved, " and some acquaintance behind 
the scenes." 

Lilith was sent at once to her room, to 



54 ' THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

collect all Tom's letters and presents, that 
they might be returned to him at once. 

*' I wish I was dead ! " she said passion- 
ately, as she rose to obey. 

An hour later her father found her sobbing 
her heart out over the task, a pile of Tom's 
letters before her. 

'* Papa ! " cried Llllth, '' I want to see him 
again. Oh, I do ! He was wrong, I know, 
and angry, and all that ; but so was I angry, 
and I don't know what I said nor the half 
of what he said ; and It seems now as If It 
had been all my fault. Oh, do — do let me 
see him again ! " 

*' It Is quite Impossible, my love." 

*' His letters, papa ! I have been trying 
to read them ! Papa, it can't be true. 
When he wrote all that he meant It. I 
know he did ! " 

" Yes, yes, at first. He has taken a 
wrong turning, Llllth. As his poor father 
did. Upon my word, I don't know what 
to think. He is all wrong now anyhow. 



THE RELICS. 55 



Edward has been telling me Fd rather 

see you in 3^our grave, Lilith, than married 
to a bad fellow." 

" You 7'eally think it ? You really, really 
think he is not to be trusted ? " 

*' I do, Lilith. You must give him up, my 
dear," said Mr. Turold ; but he wished she 
had not asked that question. Try as he 
would, he could not satisfy himself that 
Tom was a thorough-paced scoundrel. 

However, there was no doubt he was a 
sacrilegious barbarian, trampling under foot 
all the unwritten laws of the house of 
Turold. And as such Lilith must none 
of him. 

All the girl's treasures were taken from 
her, and Edward himself undertook to carry 
them to Silcote Dene. The eneaQfement 
was definitely ended and done with. Mr. 
Turold found comfort in that, and even to 
Lilith, crushed and miserable as she was, 
it was for the moment a relief. The un- 
certainty, the doubts and suspicions, the 



56 , THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

flashings and flickerings of hope, and the 
dull sinkings of despair which she had lived 
through during the last weeks, were driving 
her mad. Now she knew where she was. 
All was ended. They said he was un- 
worthy, and he himself had given her up. 
She was not to be his wife. It was 
decided ; and her heart was broken. 

In the afternoon, a couple of fat-cheeked 
Jews with note-books presented themselves, 
bearing an order from the proprietor to 
view, with an eye to valuation, the locked 
cases of relics, the cauls and snuff-boxes, 
the warming - pans and needlework, the 
mazers and gracecups, the morsels of cere 
cloth, the posy rings, the black-letter Bibles 
and the mellow-toned violin. Edward sacri- 
ficed himself to go round with these people, 
and gained much valuable information from 
their remarks. 

Dinner was served as usual, only with a 
little added stateliness ; the servants were 
more ceremonious than was their custom, 



THE RELICS. 57 



and Mr. Turold and Edward and Princess 
Lilith were all dressed with extreme 
punctilio. When the dessert was put on 
the table, Gilbert Turold, as always in his 
family on grand occasions, gave the health 
of her Majesty the Queen. Lilith came 
near fainting once, but there was overmuch 
dignity in the room for any such trifling. 
She struggled through the courses, scalded 
herself with the soup, choked over the 
bones of the woodcock, and had a lump in 
her throat when she drank the toast. But 
all things come to an end at last, and when 
she had set her wine-glass down she escaped 
from her last dinner at Turold Royal to 
the blissful solitude of the big tapestried 
drawing-room. 




1^^ 




^ 


1 


n 


L»^1ig— ^^^— 











CHAPTER III. 



HE sat In a chair by the fire, Tam- 
burlaine by her side, who now and 
then gazed up with troubled face and 
licked her hand. But she was allowed the 
privilege of privacy for a few moments only. 
Mr. Turold sent Edward to her ; and as 
the young man entered, he paused for a 
moment to admire the slope of her white 
neck, the graceful pose of her drooping 
head, and to say to himself complacently, 
'' though shorn of her inheritance she is 
still worth the winning." 

Perhaps the girl guessed at once what he 
had come for. She evaded his opening 
questions so cleverly and showed so much 
eagerness for escape, that Edward saw if 



THE RELICS. 59 



he were not to be entirely baffled, he must 
come to his point at once and insist upon 
her facine it. He knew his cousin accu- 
rately by this time. He had once laughingly 
compared her to a little, rounded pepper-pot 
of her special affection, which might quiver 
and shake and wobble for a quarter of an 
hour, but which was sure to settle itself 
upright at last. He knew that Lilith would 
eventually recover her faith in Tom, the 
true centre of her being. The only chance 
for himself was to seize her before this 
happened, and bind her, somehow or other, 
by force or by fraud, firmly to himself. 

*' Lilith," he said, "you know, I fancy, 
what I have come to ask you. Dearest, 
will you be my wife ? " 

The false and the true ! And, at least 
in this nineteenth century, they so often 
use the same words and even the same 
tones. Lilith y^// the difference, but at this 
moment she was trying to follow, not feel- 
ing, but reason and good advice. Women, 



6o , THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

who are children of instinct, make a great 
mess of it when they try that plan. 

" Really, Edward," exclaimed Lilith, '' you 
do choose the most unfortunate times for 
your proposals ! Is it kind to tease me in 
this way ? Be your wife ? I have said No 
before. How could you expect me to say 
Yes to-day ? " 

" Dear child," said Edward with the 
greatest gentleness, " when I allowed myself 
to ask you that question before, you did not 
answer me with No." 

The girl coloured indignantly. 

*'We talked of a business transaction, 
Edward. At that time I thought marriages 
could be business transactions. I wonder 
you refer to that, Edward ! You made me 
very angry with you that day." 

" I know you were angry, Lilith. I have 
waited all this time to ask your forgiveness 
and to justify myself." 

'' But I cannot forgive you, and I don't 
think any justification is possible." 



THE RELICS. 6 1 



'' My fault, Lilith, was that I addressed 
you too soon. I do not expect unqualified 
absolution. I was carried away by my 
affection for you ; I lost my head. Good 
heavens ! how careful I have been never to 
lose my head again in speaking to you, 
dear as you have always been to me, attrac- 
tive as you are ! Lilith, had I guessed you 
so implacable, I should have been tempted 
to be a little less honest. I knew my 
freedom was coming within a post or two; 
I might have concealed my fault in speak- 
ing too soon. Or I miofht have concealed 
altogether, the thing which you, Lilith, 
would never have found out." 

" But, Edward, it would have been quite 
horrible if you hadn't told me," cried Lilith. 

''So I thought. So I still think. Yet, 
dear child, are you so innocent as not to 
know that other men do worse things, things 
not follies but sins, and afterwards marry 
girls like you and ask no pardon because 
they make no confession ? " 



62 , THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

■ Lilith made a faint protest against this 
turn in the conversation, but he continued : 

" Innocence makes women very unjust 
sometimes. You think I was worse than 
others ? Well, I was not ; I was a great 
deal better. What I had done was, from 
a moral point of view, no wrong whatever. 
Listen : when a mere boy I fell in love 
with a very handsome, very seductive 
woman of a different class from my own. 
I married her, foolishly I admit. She proved 
unworthy. There is the whole history. Is 
it so shocking ? I declare that / have no 
cause for shame, and that / have concealed 
nothing." 

There was a slight emphasis on these 
personal pronouns. 

'' Very well, Edward. It was not un- 
pardonable. Now, please, say no more 
about it." 

He replied with great gravity : 

*' I have spoken of it for one reason only. 
It is because you, Lilith, have been making 



THE RELICS. 63 



the same error as that which bHghted my 
life. I have been, I am determined to 
rescue you, no matter what pain 1 give my- 
self or you.'* 

*' I can't imagine what you mean ! " said 
Lilith, startled and indignant. 

'' Dear child, you also have loved one 
with many brilliant and attractive qualities, 
I know ; with a veneer of education and 
manners, I know ; in those points superior 
to my poor wife ; but, for all that, absolutely 
beneath you " 

'* My own first cousin ! " cried Lilith, 
starting up angrily. 

'* — the son, as we know," continued 
Edward, *' of a man who, indeed, began in 
our rank, but who was utterly worthless ; and 
of a low class, improper woman ; himself 
reared by low class, unprincipled, dishonest 
people, and practically of their class " 

'' He isn't." 

" Why, he says himself he prefers to remain 
in that class ! You have tried, Lilith, to 



64 ' THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

raise him, to teach him to appreciate the 
privileges of your position. You have failed, 
and you know it, — exactly as I failed," ended 
Edward, dropping his voice, ''when I also 
attempted the hopeless task." 

" Edward, you are absurd !'' cried Lilith. 
*' As if there was ever the very slightest com- 
parison between Tom and that poor woman 
you speak of ! I didn't want to change one 
single thing about him. I don't believe the 
things you say of Tom. I trust him still, 
though I can't quite understand him now. 
I mean — it separates us. But I don't 
believe the things you say. I knew him 
better than you did." 

Edward shook his head. 

'' I think not, Lilith. Other people, I am 
sorry to tell you, understand him only too 
well. In a little while, when you can review 
his conduct calmly, you will understand him 
yourself." 

'* That will do now, Edward ! " sobbed 
Lilith. '* Perhaps you may in some ways be 



THE RELICS. 65 



partly right. But, oh, I did love him ! I do. 
I shall always love him, whatever he is." 

'' It is impossible, Lilith. My experience 
at your age assures me of that." 

There was a long silence. 

Edward was patient ; at last he re- 
sumed : 

" Come, now, Lilith, have I not spoken 
sympathetically — like a brother ? " 

"You are kind enough, Edward, I sup- 
pose," said the girl, reluctantly. 

" Dearest Lilith, no, not as a brother," he 
said, his hand on the arm of her chair. '' I 
have loved you a long time, how patiently 
no one can know ! Once you were ready to 
give yourself to me. Let me claim your 
promise now." 

" Oh, no, Edward ; it is a quibble to say 
I promised. I can't marry you. I don't 
love you. I love Tom." 

"You will not love him, Lilith. You do 
not love him now. It is infatuation. I 
know, for I have been through it." 

VOL. HI. 45 



66 , THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

'' Ask me again, Edward, if you choose, a 
very great deal later. If I didn't love Tom, 
perhaps I could love you. Perhaps you do 
not want to be loved ; you only want me as 
a business transaction. Papa wishes It, I 
know, and I should like to please him. 
But, indeed, Edward, I can't and I won't 
marry you now ! " 

Edward rose to his feet and stood before 
her, studying her. The delicate face was 
colourless, the blue eyes still covered by 
their tear-stained lids, drops still hovering on 
their lashes. Lilith was thinking how, two 
weeks ago, she had sat with her lover on 
the green island in their sea of trouble, had 
felt his arm round her, and looked Into his 
fond eyes. Had It really been but a last 
poor flicker of love's candle dying out in its 
socket 1 Was it really all ended, and in 
wrath, so soon after that sweet meeting ? 
Edward knew not whither her thoughts had 
flown ; but he was far too wise to attempt 
the faintest approach to caress or warmth. 



THE RELICS. 6 J 



" Very well, Lilith," he said heartily ; '' I 
accept your terms. I don't ask you to 
marry me now. You shall be free ; abso- 
lutely free. Until you give me the signal 
to do so, I will neither press my suit nor 
ask for a single favour. If you choose, I 
will never be more to you than a brother, 
as I have been. But, my dear Lilith, the 
world will think we are betrothed ; and for 
your father's sake, if for no other reason, I 
think you ought not to contradict it." 

" Oh, Edward ! Why .? " 

He smiled. 

"Simply because I intend to help you and 
your father in a more substantial way than 
would be quite seemly for a mere distant 
cousin. Do you know that he is robbed of 
almost everything he possesses ? It is the 
most awkward, conceivable position for a 
man of his age, used to a sort of affluence 
and to a very great deal of consideration." 

" But, Edward, what can you do for 
us } " 



68 > THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

*' To-morrow I am going to take you both 
out of this desecrated place to my home, 
which will, I hope, eventually be yours." 

" Edward, I should not like people to 
think I was going to marry you if in my 
heart I knew I wasn't." 

** Then, Lilith " — he paused, ' looking at 
her gravely — '' we must put it to ourselves, 
thus, that you do intend to marry me, unless, 
after two years, or whatever term you 
choose, you find it impossible. That will 
come, as far as other people are concerned, 
to an ordinary engagement, purposely re- 
vocable ; but you and I will have our secret 
understanding, and I will promise on my 
honour not to press you, nor to tease you 
in any way, till you wish it." 

She shook her head slowly, looking at 
him with troubled eyes. 

" But if Tom heard of it " 

" In the first place, he is not likely to 
hear of it," said Edward, frankly ; " in the 
second, he has lost his right to criticize ; 



THE RELICS. 69 



thirdly, we shall hear almost immediately of 
his marriage with Miss Kidson." 

" Edward, he told me it wasn't true ! " 
. " Unfortunately he says different things 
to different people. To put a favourable 
construction on his conduct, he was not able 
to announce his intention until he was free 
of his entanglement with you. But, for all 
that, the marriage is an understood thing." 

'* I shall write to Grace Kidson and ask 
her ! " 

'' My dear Lilith, pray don't do that! It 
would be undignified. Besides, he ought to 
marry Miss Kidson. He has treated her 
worse even than he has treated you ; and 
if she is willing to forgive him — why, she's 
a rich woman, and it will be a most fortu- 
nate match for him. I do think, Lilith, it 
would be a little selfish of you to put 
spokes in the wheel by interference or even 
by comment." 

Lilith rose pettishly. 

" Of course I shan't interfere," she said. 



70 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



and left him, Edward thinking it unwise to 
urge her further. 

But he told Gilbert Turold what he had 
done, and professed himself satisfied ; he had 
in fact entangled Lilith as surely as a spider 
entangles a fly in a quick-spun web for 
future devouring. 




CHAPTER IV. 

OM was writing a letter to Lilith ; on 
the table before him were spread out 
the broken love-links which he had received 
back, and those others which it was now his 
duty to restore to her. Achmed, his dog, 
laid his nose inquiringly on his knee, as 
if asking must he be sent away too ? 
Achmed was a young bloodhound of the 
famous breed ; a fine creature, though not 
the equal of Tamburlaine, his sire. One of 
Lilith's earliest gifts, he had now acquired 
a very distinct value of his own, for Tom 
had nursed him through distemper, and 
had taken him to America ; and Achmed 
had followed him to the fire, and had lain 
by his side in the hospital, and he had 



72 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

watched him dumbly with the curiously 
human expression of these dogs, when he 
and Llllth had made love to each other for 
the last time under the palms in the now 
dismantled conservatory. The woe on 
Achmed's wrinkled countenance moved Tom 
strangely, and he had difficulty in getting on 
with his letter. 

" LiLITH, 

" I have not one word to urge in excuse. I 
would give much to undo what I said and did in my 
last talk with you. I was mad, I think. God knows I 
have loved you, my darling, with my whole heart, from 
the first moment I saw you. Let me say that, and 
thank you unutterably for all the happiness you have 
given me. It is a miserable fate that forces me to repay 
it by paining you ; and the sharpest sting of all is the 
consciousness that I made our last farewell unkind, our 
last kiss poisoned." 

Thus far Tom had written when Mrs. 
Palmer came softly In, bringing him a letter 
from Edward, and the Information that that 
gentleman was below waiting for an answer. 
Tom broke the seal impatiently and read as 
follows : — 



THE RELICS, JT) 



'' Sir, 

'* Miss Turold is astonished that you have not 
attended to her request and returned her letters without 
delay. I must beg of you to do so at once, and will 
myself be the bearer, waiting till you choose to comply. 
I beg further to state that Miss Turold has given me 
the right to interfere in her behalf, having promised me 
the honour of her hand." 



The letter dropped from Tom's fingers, 
and he covered his face. 

** So soon ! Heaven knows I saw how it 
would be ! But now f Lilith, Lilith, w^hy 
did you come to me that night as if you 
loved me still } " 

Presently he descended with the things 
demanded and his poor friend Achmed, 
but without the letter he had been 
writing to Lilith ; that had gone into the 
fire. 

"Will you be so good as to tell Miss 
Turold," said Tom, '' that I have done as 
she asked, the first moment I had after her 
request reached me." 

" Certainly, I will tell her," said Edward ; 



74 ' THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

*' but you should not have waited for a re- 
quest ; the duty was obvious." 

" I am very sorry. I never once thought 
of it. Will you take the dog as well ? He 
is fierce." Edward received Achmed's chain 
with great deliberation. 

" I have been admiring the lamp," he said. 
''Kidson's new oil, I believe ?" 

*' No," thundered Tom, " Palmer's new 
oil. Why Kidson is selling it and not 
Palmer I don't know. Perhaps you could 
explain if you chose." 

'* May I ask what you can possibly mean 
by that '^. " asked Edward. 

•'Lord love us, Tom dear!'' whispered 
Mrs. Palmer, alarmed. 

" I don't know what I mean," said Tom, 
hotly. " I vomited up an undigested sus- 
picion, that is all. Mr. Vane, for Lilith's 
sake I do not wish to affront you again. 
Will you go away ? " 

Edward folded his arms. 

'* By all means, Mr. Turold, affront me if 



THE RELICS. 75 



you wish. I am in the position of seeing 
no becoming way of retaHation. You are 
rather big to fight with. You are a shot 
and a swordsman. I neglected those some- 
what barbarous branches of education ; and 
just at present my prospects being good, I 
don't feel inclined, for my bride's sake, to 
make you a present of my life. At the 
same time, I have too much respect for the 
name of Turold to put you in a police-court. 
So you see, sir, if you like to strike me 
again, I am at your mercy.'' 

"Tom, dear Tom!" pleaded poor Mrs. 
Palmer. 

" I had better go," said Edward, smiling 
at her, *' before we become even more plain- 
spoken. All the Turolds are hot-tempered. 
Good evening, Mrs. Palmer. Come, then, 
dog." 

Never before had Achmed been addressed 
as " dog ; " moreover he perceived that his 
master did not like this visitor. He growled 
ominously. But Mr. Vane would have died 



76 , THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

sooner than appear discomposed ; for Gilbert 
Turold had often told with admiration how 
Tom had daunted the formidable Tambur- 
laine on the day of their introduction. 
Achmed protested against his removal, and 
Tom had no sooner retired than he bit 
Edward Vane. However, with the groom's 
help he got him into the cart and safely 
home to Molesworthy House, where he was 
flung into a kennel. 

" Did you see Tom yourself, Edward ? " 
asked Lilith, anxiously, fingering her parcel. 
" Oh, tell me about him. What did he say ? " 

*'If you insist upon knowing, Lilith," said 
Edward, with feigned reluctance, '* well, the 
fact is, he set his dog at me. Oh, it's 
nothing — a mere scratch," he said, showing 
his wounded hand. 

Achmed did not at all like being shut up. 
He bit the wood and tore up the ground, 
and fought vv^ith every man and every beast 
he came near, refusing all food and growling 
horribly. All night he howled, waking the 



THE RELICS. jy 



echoes, and Lilith, lying awake, listened 
miserably. 

*' I can't stand it," she said ; " it isn't 
right to torture a dumb animal because Tom 
and I have quarrelled. Achmed shall go 
back." 

After breakfast she visited the poor brute, 
now dull and dejected, his coat staring, his 
pathetic eyes woestruck, his growls and his 
bowlings silenced alike. 

'' He's adying," said the old groom, who 
had come from Turold Royal, and who was 
standing near. '' Bless you, miss, he ain't 
never been shut up afore. He's slep' in his 
master's bedroom, he have, and this 'ere den 
is all one to him like you or me 'd feel in 
the poor-house." 

" Let him out, Masters," said Lilith. 

Achmed crawled into the winter sunshine, 
stretched himself, sniffed the air with his 
head on one side, then gave three weak but 
joyous barks and jumped at Lilith, running 
backwards and forwards. Then he set off 



78 > THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

at full speed for Silcote Dene and his 
master. 

" Happy, happy Achmed ! " sighed Lillth. 

After about thirty yards, the dog's pace 
slackened to a dismal trot, then he stopped 
and ran on again, stopped and ran on again. 

" He'll get there somehow, the beastie," 
said Masters, "though it's a seven mile 
run. 

At this moment the report of a gun was 
heard, a blue smoke was seen, and the brave 
hound fell over on his side, shot through the 
heart. 

" My dearest Lilith, I had no idea you 
were watching," said Edward, much con- 
cerned. " That poor brute was showing 
evident signs of madness, and as he had 
escaped, to shoot him was the only way." 

'* I suppose he was mad, indeed ! " said 
Lillth ; '* he was faithful to his master." 

That little tragedy was an ominous com- 
mencement for Edward's engagement to his 
cousin, Lilith Turold. 



PART IX. 

THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 

CHAPTER I. 

T is a moot question whether popularity 
Is any criterion of worth. The poet 
whose sweetest songs are never the rage 
like the latest music-hall ditty is doubtless 
tempted to find the truly glorious distinction 
in popular disapproval. Nevertheless it is 
much to be suspected that Will Shakspere 
got an audience from the first ; and was 
there ever a man who didn't think the 
Hallelujah Chorus a very stirring and fine 
sort of thing ? On the whole, evidence 
seems to point out that first-rate work makes 
its way with a good deal of ease, and only 



8o THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

by a series of very deplorable accidents 
lives under a bushel. 

These reflections are d propos of Sir 
Joseph Kidson's '* Evening Sunrise," which 
had no sooner appeared in the shops than 
it displaced every rival in the business of 
illumination. Gas became obsolete, the old 
oils went out without a flicker, tallow candles 
went to a * worser world,' and even the electric 
light though it died hard was buried without 
a regretful tombstone. For the new oil 
lamp was perfect and only out of wrong- 
headedness could any one have desired 
another. It was cheap, clean, safe and 
convenient ; necessitated for its employment 
no pulling about of a house or taking thought 
for a steam-engine. It brilliantly lighted 
the ball-room, softly the dinner table, and 
religiously the church ; was becoming to my 
lady's complexion and gentle for her lord's 
weak eyes. If you upset it, you neither 
stained your carpet nor put yourself in a 
blaze ; if your cook dropped the oil into your 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. S[ 

food you were not poisoned. The smell 
was very nice on your pocket-handkerchief. 
It was a cure for colds in the head, for 
chilblains and for blisters. The housemaid 
polished the brass with it, and the lady's- 
maid cleaned her mistress's gloves. People 
began to wonder how they had existed 
before its day, and Sir Joseph Kidson was 
an acknowledged benefactor of his species. 
Wealth flowed in upon him, and com- 
pliments ; likewise self-gratulation and vain 
conceit. 

The neat little villa at Molesworthy could 
no longer contain the great Sir Joseph. He 
resolved upon a country place and the 
position of a county magnate. In imagina- 
tion he saw himself a peer of the realm, and 
his beautiful daughter (who had perversely 
become a Roman Catholic) married to such 
an one as a Duke of Norfolk at least. 

But the country seat he required was none 
so very easy to find at a moment's notice ; 
near London, too, for Sir Joseph intended to 

VOL. ni. 46 



82 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

look sharp after his business himself. It 
was by Edward Vane's advice that he at 
first took a house on lease ; to gain time and 
to try his wings ; possibly too with a notion 
that to become a magnate in a house already 
oflorious would be easier than In a creation 
of his own. He took Turold Royal. 

" Fd like to do poor Tom a good turn," he 
explained amiably, not hinting at ulterior 
motives ; and indeed he meant what he 
said, for his conscience was not easy about 
the downfall of the Palmers nor the secret 
bargain he had made with Edward Vane. 

Tom of course had an instinct against Sir 
Joseph as his tenant. He felt that the 
presence at Turold Royal of the oil 
merchant who was also the proprietor of the 
very vulgar radical Molesworthy Journal, 
would be the culmination of annoyance to all 
his Indignant relatives. But as Gilbert had 
found a few years ago when seeking an 
Indian general to buy Sllcote Dene, the 
desirable personage, the homeless nobleman 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, ^'^ 



or retired Minister of State did not turn 
up at the precise moment he was required. 
The Court had already been shut for nearly 
a year; it was rather a delicate matter 
to refuse a good offer for no ostensible 
reason and the rent was exceedingly 
badly wanted. 

For the luckless young heir of the 
Turolds, though he had got on the right 
side of the Stirke business, and by private 
arrangement with the creditors had secured 
Mr. Palmer from the Bankruptcy Court, was 
by no means out of his difficulties. He was 
still in debt, he had left himself personally 
nothing to live upon, and he had promised 
not to let the estate suffer. 

*' If this goes on," said Tom, who was 
living in obscurity with his adopted parents 
and was still on working days called Palmer, 
" I shall have to sell some more of their 
things." 

'* No, no, Tom, that would be drawing on 
your capital," said Mr. Palmer, who was 



84 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

very quiet, almost apathetic nowadays, like 
'' a sad sea when storms are o'er." 

" I don't want to do it," replied Tom : and 
in this temper he dared not reject Sir Joseph; 
but came to terms with him unwillingly and 
instead of a twenty-one years' lease, made it 
seven. 

'' I wish I could tell Lilith that I altered 
it to please her," thought Tom, " and am 
taking Kidson at all to save the Holbein. 
I suppose she'd think it cant like any other 
regrets I may have expressed. Why doesn't 
Vane take the place himself and lead her 
back there .^ Or is that a coarse idea of 
mine ? They are not married yet. I 
wonder why not ? " 

But Tom held no communication with 
Lilith now and explanation was out of the 
question. He was an outcast from his 
family ; regarded by them as a necessary 
evil to be endured and ignored ; as an 
unseen and irremovable vampire who sucked 
away their life blood. But for a few 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 85 

business letters between him and the trustees, 
some remorse, and countless annoyances, Tom 
might have forgotten that his name was 
indisputably Turold ; he was many miles 
farther away from Lilith's sphere and society 
than in the old days of Luxor and Silcote 
Dene, when he had his yacht and a very 
good coat to his back, and wrote himself 
plain Tom Palmer, son of the self-made 
man. 

So Sir Joseph came to Turold Royal : 
and very soon the place was all alive with 
horses and carriages, and flunkeys, and new 
carpets and curtains, and an air of life and 
bustle unknown under the sleepy rdgime of 
its legitimate sovereigns. But Grace had 
after all gone into the nunnery, a step which 
drove Sir Joseph nearly beside himself; and 
the party which came to the Court consisted 
of the husband and wife, her companion 
Miss Brown, Sir Joseph's private secretary 
Mr. Mankelow Smith, and his private 
physician Dr. Harris. Thinking Mr. 



86 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



Trevylyan inclined to Ritualism, he pre- 
sently introduced a domestic chaplain, a 
young gentleman named Garbett who read 
prayers daily and on Sunday preached in the 
private chapel. 

The Court had not been inhabited for six 
months before Sir Joseph realized that he 
had made a blunder. The historical house 
had no power to turn him into a personage. 
The neighbours did not call ; which was 
most unfair, considering that they had called, 
though shyly, on the Palmers at Silcote 
Dene. Sir Joseph offered to give a ball : 
and " to do it really handsome, you know, — 
not a mere dance like Palmer's ; " and the 
offer was declined. Though a benefactor of 
his species, he was not half so well liked as 
simple John Palmer ; Lady Kidson was 
detested ; and the beautiful daughter, the 
one bearable member of the family, had 
mysteriously vanished. Her parents were 
much too angry to confess where she was, 
and spoke of her so bitterly and so strangely, 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 87 

that very queer stories about Grace got 
afloat, causing all respectable people to look 
askance at her name and her family. Sir 
Joseph could not conceive why he did not 
get on with the county ; he set it all down 
to Jack Palmer's failure — just as if all self- 
made men came to grief and were too easily 
burst to be safely touched. 

" I did think Vane would have introduced 
us," grumbled ^Sir Joseph and put no faith in 
Harris (who had many more acquaintances 
than his patron) when he said Edward Vane 
was an enemy. 

At the end of six months Sir Joseph 
wanted Tom to reduce the seven-years' lease 
to one ; and Tom's refusal was the beginning 
of a feud between him and his landlord. 
Next cropped up an overlooked question of 
repairs ; dilapidations as Sir Joseph called 
them. Not sufficiently accurately had the 
question of repairs been gone into when 
the lease was drawn up ; and Tom, with 
the great hole in his pocket, was glad of it; 



SS ' THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

for the ominous word " drains " was uttered 
when Lady Kidson got a sore throat, and 
Sir Joseph insisted on a grand investigation 
and modern improvements. Well, if his 
tenant liked throwing money about in that 
way let him do it, said Tom who was 
barbarously healthy himself; but the rela- 
tions grew alarmed when they saw bricks 
and mortar pulled about at Turold Royal 
and got Mr. Wilkinson to write sharply to 
the head of the family to stop it. The letter 
came one day when Tom was out of 
humour and he sent back a sharp answer ; 
it arrived when Wilkinson (who was rather 
fond of Tom) was himself out of temper ; 
and he showed it to Lord Erpingham, who 
was not personally inimical to Tom either, 
but who gave him a bad mark this time 
and in his careless way sent another libel 
on him round the family. 

Sir Joseph spent a lot of money on the 
drains, but could not obtain authority to do 
all he wished ; and Lady Kidson's throat 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 89 

got no better. She herself traced her 
ailments to the oak panelling on the walls 
and it was removed and stored, and the 
ceilings were whitewashed. Then her lady- 
ship was certain that the great old-fashioned 
beds in the show rooms harboured bugs, 
and though no one was thinking of sleep- 
ing in them, she had them stored also, 
and sundry oak chimney-pieces taken 
down to make room for marble, and iron 
grates. 

The things were all ticketed and put 
away most carefully, but still every one was 
very angry with the Kidsons and concluded 
they were acting by Tom's desire, who had 
shown what his own feelings were when he 
sold off half the relics. Then one day Sir 
Joseph, who w^as very heavy, heard a creak 
as he was mounting the staircase and stoop- 
ing down to examine he found one of the 
beautiful carved pilasters worm-eaten. 

" I've had a most narrow escape of my 
life," he said, ** the whole stair must be 



90 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

removed and an Italian marble one put in 
its place. I'll bear the expense, Tom, my 
boy/' 

Tom refused to permit this and Sir Joseph 
threatened to go to law with him. No threat 
is more alarming from a rich man to a poor 
one, and Tom had to compromise the matter. 
The staircase was to be left, but propped up 
with ludicrous wooden staves ; an arrange- 
ment which being ugly and quite unnecessary 
made both landlord and tenant a laughing- 
stock. After this there was a chronic little 
quarrel going on about the repairs. Sir 
Joseph did a good many impertinent things 
without leave, and ostentatiously asked per- 
mission for trifles ; and if Tom made an 
objection, which was as seldom as possible, 
he set it down as a grievance. 

Worse followed. One day Sir Joseph 
thought he saw one of the family ghosts 
stalking about in the once opulent picture- 
gallery. He was dreadfully frightened and 
tumbling down in his agitation on the 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 9 1 

polished floor, gave orders that it should 
never be polished again. The servants got 
wind of the ghost and began to see him too, 
and Sir Joseph who had made fuss enough 
about his own vision, declared it all drunken 
rubbish if the same mischance happened to 
a housemaid or a page. Then all the 
servants resigned at once, which caused a 
great upset and made the world laugh once 
more. And then one day, Lady Kidson 
saw a quite new sort of ghost, not pre- 
viously mentioned in the Turold annals, 
which only told of crusaders, and veiled 
Saracen dames, and long-haired cavaliers, 
and such - like beings, alarming perhaps 
but very distinctly picturesque. Lady 
Kidson's ghost was a colossal yellowish- 
green face with a likeness to her own and 
a smirk, which floated about in the air before 
her and spoke of woes with a lolling tongue. 
Lady Kidson described it so circumstantially 
that no one could disbelieve her having seen 
something ; and Dr. Harris's suggestion 



92 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

that the vision was subjective did not seem 
reason for absolving the old house from a 
charge of witchcraft. The sore throat and 
the green face affected her ladyship dis- 
astrously and she pined away, much to her 
husband's annoyance, and complained that 
the place did not suit her. Then she went 
to the seaside with Miss Brown, who there 
got typhoid fever and declared that she had 
brought the infection from Turold Royal. 
Lady Kidson for a long time refused to 
return ; eventually, after a quarrel with her 
husband, did so ; saw the green face again, 
and died incontinently on the following 
day. 

Sir Joseph was very greatly shocked and 
indeed never quite recovered his spirits. 
The poor woman had doubtless succumbed 
to natural causes, but her husband obstinately 
clung to two contradictory beliefs ; one 
that the Turold ghost had murdered her ; 
the other that her death was a punishment 
on himself, for what misdeeds he did not 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 



93 



specify. After this a change was observed 
in Sir Joseph. He became gloomy, morose 
and distracted ; miserly too, and very 
evidently, odd and unhappy. 




CHAPTER II. 



BOUT six months after Lady Kidson's 
death, Grace's novitiate was coming 
to an end. The convent was at Bayswater, 
and the close London atmosphere, with 
never a holiday, had taken the bloom from 
her lovely cheeks. In its place was a clear 
pallor and an air of exaltation which seemed 
to increase the size of her dark eyes, and 
gave them a heavenly expression under her 
close cap and veil. According to the rule 
of that particular establishment, her novitiate 
had been spent chiefly in active work among 
the poor in a manner by no means distasteful 
to the enthusiastic girl. She did her work 
so well, submitted to all arbitrariness, fasting, 
penances, vigils so zealously ; was so clear 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 95 

on points of doctrine ; so earnest in matters 
of devotion, that she was regarded as one 
with a most sure vocation, a very spirit-led 
child of the Holy Mother : while the com- 
fortable little income she had brought to the 
conventual purse and her prospective wealth 
gave her a certain prestige among the nuns, 
many of whom had relinquished singularly 
little in taking the vow of Eternal Poverty. 
Meantime, of her offended family and of the 
outside world Grace knew scarce anything. 

One day in the early spring, the novice, 
and an older nun her guardian, were return- 
ing from the East End by the Underground 
Railway, and having to change trains at a 
crowded station the two got separated : the 
nun was left behind altogether and the novice 
was thrust into a first-class carriage occupied 
by a solitary man. Upon recognizing 
Edward Vane, Grace crossed herself as if 
the world, the flesh, and the devil had con- 
fronted her in person. 

" It is against the rule of my Order to 



96 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

enter into general conversation," said Grace's 
clear soft voice, which like her face seemed 
to have gained in expression and in harmony. 

'' Oh, that's nonsense," said Edward with 
the masculine authority which women may 
resent, but find it hard to resist. 

She raised her head and looked at him 
with pathetic eyes which to Edward's sur- 
prise moved him a little. He had always 
admired Grace ; to-day, as she gazed at him, 
his blood seemed to run a little quicker, 
perhaps merely because her garb pronounced 
her forbidden fruit. 

*' Tell me, Grace," he asked, " has It been 
a success ? " 

" I am Sister Athanasia," she answered 
quietly. " I have lost my old name." 

" Mightn't it be a little pleasant to hear 
it again?" asked Edward. He gradually 
drew her into conversation ; on relio^ious 
topics at first. Edward had been brought 
up in the Church and knew how to talk of it. 
'' I am still a sceptic," he said, '' but as one 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 97 

thinks less of religious questions, I find one 
insensibly drifts back into religious cere- 
monial. It's the force of early habit, no 
doubt. I have to remind myself nowadays, 
* you don't believe such and such you know ; 
why act as if you did ? ' " 

"Oh," said Grace, ''do not resist the 
strivings of the Spirit." 

She also was feeling the force of habit ; 
the habit she had formed of submitting to 
this man's suggestions while believing her- 
self to be Influencing him for his good. 
When she told him that in a month's time 
she was to make her Profession, and that 
to-morrow would be her last day of going 
into the world at all, before the final pre- 
paratory four weeks of meditation and 
penitence, Edward was silent for some time, 
considering various things. Her replies to 
his adroit questions had already convinced 
him that she more than half regretted the 
step she had taken in withdrawing from the 
world. 

VOL. III. 47 



98 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Would it be general conversation if I 
told you a little about myself and our mutual 
friends ? " he asked ; and without giving her 
time to reply, spoke of her father's wealth 
and of his dejected spirits. 

" I supposed his invention was a pleasure 
to him," said Grace ; " my poor father ! his 
affections are all in this world. He has 
never looked into life, as you, Mr. Vane, 
have done ; and I." 

" Perhaps not. Whose is the recommen- 
dation * Lift not the painted veil ' ? But, 
Grace " — Edward smiled — " seriously now, 
it was not Sir Joseph's invention. It was 
yours." 

" What can you mean ? " 

** Do you remember sending me, why, I 
don't know, a crumpled blue paper with 
some scrawls on it ? " 

" Which you had sent to me." 

'' Pardon me. I never saw it before." 

She reflected. 

'* Then I must somehow have got it 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 99 



from the Palmers. I was staying with 
them." 

'' The Palmers ! Good heavens ! " ex- 
claimed Edward, with well -feigned surprise ; 
'' but that complicates matters ! You see, 
that paper gave the clue. Your father got 
it, and here's the result, in the Sunrise Oil 
which lights up this carriage so splendidly." 

" Did Mr. Palmer benefit ? " 

" Palmer ? No. How could any one 
guess he had had anything to do with it ? " 

*' Oh, it doesn't seem fair!" exclaimed 
Grace; "that poor man! Do, pray Mr. 
Vane, tell my father." 

He shook his head. 

*' I am afraid it can't be helped now,'* he 
said. Then, after a few minutes, " What 
a pity. Miss Kidson, you decided for the 
convent! If you had accepted Tom's pro- 
posal he'd have been Sir Joseph's partner. 
That was your father's intention." 

Grace crimsoned. 

*' Tom never proposed for me, Mr. Vane ! 



lOO THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

And it was only fair for him to marry Miss 
Turold when he was proved her cousin. 
Why are they not living in their own 
house ? " 

"I begin to realize," said Edward, "that 
people in convents are buried alive. Do 
you really not know the facts ? Tom still 
goes under an alias, but he has spent all 
the Turold money. He doesn't live in his 
own house simply because he cannot afford 
to do so. He's an ororanist, or a music- 
master or something of that sort, and lives 
with the Palmers in a Chelsea slum. Un- 
fortunately his family — the Turolds — couldn't 
see the obligation to the Palmers, and have 
one and all cut him for selling up the family 
treasures. He is not married to Lilith 
Turold. Far from it. She threw him over 
and is going to be married to me. Yes, 
to me. That was a foolish business between 
her and Tom. They did not care for each 
other, in reality. Of course too Tom had not 
the means to marry Lilith. What he ought to 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. lOI 

have done, what he must still do, if he wants 
to recover his position, is to marry a woman 
worth money. Oh, Grace— Grace ! why at 
the moment you were wanted did you dis- 
appear in a huff into a convent ? " 

" You must not speak to me so," inter- 
posed Grace. '' It was the call of religion." 

*' No doubt you thought so. But is it not 
your formula that the Spirit works by natural 
means .^ How many of your sisters have 
gone into the convent under the pressure of 
disappointment ? And sometimes, you know, 
disappointment is mere misunderstanding." 

" You go too far, Mr. Vane. Tom had 
made no advances to me." 

" He told Gilbert Turold that he hoped to 
gain your hand. Gilbert and every one felt 
that nothing could be more desirable, and 
the family was prepared to welcome you 
and to reinstate him in his proper position. 
But when you went away Tom was very 
much nonplussed and chagrined, and the 
report went about, and very damaging it has 



I02 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

been to him, poor fellow, that he had given 
you some serious cause of offence, or you 
would not have fled from him like that. 
Now Tom is not at all in the way of meeting 
heiresses, and I don't see how, without 
money, he is ever to better his position. 
The effect of his generosity has been abso- 
lutely disastrous to himself." 

" You have distressed me very much, 
Mr. Vane," said Grace ; and a red flush 
appeared on each of her pale cheeks, show- 
ing that she was thin and spoiling her 
beauty. After which Edward Vane ex- 
patiated on the happiness he was expecting 
as Lilith's husband, and extolled the married 
state as one equal if not superior to the 
religious life. 

'' I suppose," he ended cynically enough 
as they were parting, *' according to tempera- 
ment each man chooses the life easiest to 
himself and then comes to think the other 
the higher. It depends I say on tempera- 
ment." 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 



" I cannot admit that," said Grace, steadily; 
" one chooses the highest ; surely — surely — 
the moment one recognizes it. Let me wish 
you and Lilith every happiness, Mr. Vane." 

She laid an icy hand on his for a moment 
and left him ; and Edward, who had gone 
far beyond his destination to accompany 
her, set about his return journey. " I have 
got into a very beastly habit of lying," he 
said to himself. 

Grace walked to her convent with her 
head bent and her frame shaken with tear- 
less sobs. Yet when she stood before the 
Mother Superior and explained how she had 
lost her guardian in the crowd, she looked 
like an aureoled saint, a Cecilia or a 
Catharine, enamoured of heaven without one 
glance to bestow upon the earth she was 
leaving. No one suspected that she had 
met a friend in the train. And she had for 
the moment forgotten the rules of her Order, 
and common sense had suddenly started into 
being, and was telling her that an innocent 



I04 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



friendship could not really concern any one 
except herself. 

But all that night she lay on her pallet bed 
wide awake. Long before five, the hour for 
prayer, the novice was up and kneeling in 
her coarse night-gown by the uncurtained 
window of her cell. Her soul was in a 
tumult. Not yet was she penitent for her 
sin in talking to a man, and on such unholy 
topics. No doubt later it would have to 
be mentioned in confession ; but confession 
had no charms for Grace to-night. Grace ? 
But she was not Grace. She was Sister 
Athanasia ; a lovely name chosen by herself 
with enthusiasm when she had put on the 
white veil. Yet it was Grace, not Athanasia, 
who had talked to Edward Vane in the 
railway carriage ; Grace who had suddenly 
sprung into life again, had looked out into 
the fair world of sunshine and warmth, of 
men and money, of children and employ- 
ment, home and hope, love and marriage, 
between which and herself was now a great 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 105 

gulf fixed. Edward's sentences, common- 
place, cynical some of them, were ringing 
through her ears; Grace's imagination 
always ran away with her, and she saw in 
him to-night an ideal human being with 
'a star of love on his forehead, and a beloved 
bride by his side, moving along with him to 
triumph. And she herself, who might have 
been that sort of human being too, was a 
faded broken spectre, worthless to all. That 
was the highly coloured background of her 
mind which threw into relief a few distinct 
thoughts : Tom had not married Lilith ; he 
was alone ; poor, wretched, and despised ; 
injured by her father ; deserted by herself ; — 
the man she had loved ! who had thought of 
marrying her ! 

" If I had only known ! If I had only 
known ! " said Grace Kidson, (Sister 
Athanasia fast asleep by this time). 

But no one knew it was not Sister 
Athanasia who, a few hours later, went with 
the other novices to receive the orders for 



I06 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

the day ; so pure she looked, so beautiful, 
so holy ; and the Mother Superior loved and 
admired Athanasia above any girl who had 
been under her orders, and revered in her 
a future abbess and a future saint. 

*' First, Sister Athanasia will go with 
Sister Lucia to visit the sick Italian in Bird's- 
eye Lane ; and between three and four she 
will inspect the Sacred Linen ; and the 
remaining hours she will spend in meditation 
in her private cell : " so spake the quiet 
chastened voice of the saintly woman who 
directed the convent ; and Grace turned at 
once to obey. 

She and her guardian set out early for 
Bird's-eye Lane ; the white veil and the 
black together as usual ; the w^hite veil 
which was so soon to be changed for the 
black to be worn till death. Sister Lucia 
was an old, hard-featured woman, a nun for 
^v^ and thirty years, who had left life so far 
behind as to have forgotten what its pulses 
were like. She had the set lips and dogged 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 107 

mechanical air of an automaton, and she 
walked through the streets not heeding her 
companion much ; not like the Mother 
Superior, reverent of Athanasia's attain- 
ments, nor yet jealous of the many privileges 
granted to this young novice and denied to 
others. 

But suddenly Sister Lucia became aware 
that she was alone. Athanasia had vanished, 
so silently and noiselessly that the nun, who 
was superstitious, felt her heart come Into 
her mouth, with the idea that this strange 
girl had dissolved like a witch, or been 
translated to heaven like holy Enoch. 

Lucia reached her destination alone and 
began her work ; but. Increasingly uneasy, 
she soon returned to the convent to state 
what had occurred, expecting reproof. The 
Mother Superior pondered. Yesterday also 
had this Athanasia been drawn aside from 
her companion. It could be no accident, but 
Divine Interposition which had thus separated 
her twice. It was a sign from the Virgin 



Io8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

that this holy creature was not to be treated 
as others. It was a mark of Heaven's 
favour ; possibly, a miracle. 

The afternoon came and Grace did not 
return. The Superior summoned the whole 
convent to prayer ; that their sister might 
be safe, that she might be restored un- 
harmed, that if the Mother of God were 
dealing with her in some special way, 
Sister Athanasia might have grace to be 
not disobedient to the heavenly vision ; and 
still the long hours passed slowly on and 
the novice was absent still. 

What Grace had done was this. Having 
watched her opportunity she simply slipped 
into a dairy shop, where she saw a quiet- 
looking woman behind the counter, and 
asked for a glass of milk. She had 
eighteen-pence in her pocket, without which 
no one was sent into the streets ; the 
sixpence was for necessary expenditure ; the 
shilling for accident or emergency. A glass 
of milk came under none of these heads ; but 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. IO9 

convent rules did not exist for Grace to- 
day. F'ive minutes later, when Lucia had 
vanished, Athanasia called a cab and got 
into it, looking so business - like yet so 
exalted that no one was surprised ; nor 
indeed was there any one by in a position 
to criticize her actions. 

Edward had told her Tom's address, and 
it was this she gave the driver ; Fitzroy 
Square, in a remote corner of Chelsea, where 
there were roomy old-fashioned houses that 
had once been in the country. Before one 
of these the cab stopped, and Grace got 
out, paid her shilling and rang the bell ; 
hurriedly, for she half fancied Sister Lucia in 
pursuit. 




B|l|l|l|l| I|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l[l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|l|f 




CHAPTER III. 

HERE is no one in but myself," said 
Tom ; " father is taking his stroll 
and mother is in the country for a few days. 
And I have an appointment. But come in, 
Grace, of course." 

He opened the door of the parlour, a 
very plain, slightly dingy room, where break- 
fast-cups still lingered, and a cat was sleep- 
ing on the sunniest chair. Grace dropped 
upon the sofa, very pale, her eyes wild and 
anxious. She removed her veil, disclosing 
her cropped hair, and making very plain 
that the roundness of her facial lines had 
vanished. To Tom there was something 
shocking in this rending away of her veil, 
and he waited for her to speak first. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, III 

" What would you do, Tom, if you found 
you had undertaken a task beyond your 
strength ? " asked Grace. 

" I suppose I should perform It very 
badly," said Tom. 

*' Oh, don't answer in that sort of way ! 
Would you give It up ? " 

''Why, no; not If I could get through It 
at all." He looked at her sharply. "If It 
was a thing no sane person should ever have 
let himself in for " 

" Is that what you think of my vocation ? " 

" I know so little about It," said Tom, 
apologetically, " that I have no right to an 
opinion." 

The two had not met since the night 
when Tom's courage had faltered at the 
first sight of Sir Joseph's newly patented 
Evening Sunrise. Time had, outwardly at 
least, changed the girl more than the man. 
He was living in shadow, no doubt ; but 
Grace suggested darkness and artificial 
light. 



112 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" I am going to make my Profession," she 
told him ; *' to take the irrevocable vows ; 
poverty, chastity, obedience. You remember, 
Tom, at Assisi, on our way home from 
Eg^ypt ^ the paintings on the ceiHng — the 
rags, the tower of imprisonment, the thorn- 
bush ? and how you and I talked of St. 
Francis and the vows then .^ " 

"Not very sympathetically," said the 
young man. 

" Oh, Tom ! " cried Grace, clasping her 
hands, " tell me how I can escape ! " 

Tom started ; he was astonished ; would 
have been more so had he not from youth 
up been accustomed to Grace's instability. 
He sat down opposite to her. 

" It seems rather late," he said, '' but 
luckily not too late. What is the 
difficulty.?" 

'* You don't know how we regard it. It 
is apostasy." 

''What, before you have vowed '^ " 

" No one in our community ever draws 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, II3 

back. To do it as late as this is like — like 
running away the day before the wedding." 

" Well, that is not the day after the 
wedding," said Tom. 

"Oh, the cases are not similar. Engage- 
ments to marry are often broken. They are 
not sacred." 

"If you come to me for advice, you must 
be prepared to hear some strong language. 
This nunnery business is not sacred : it is 
unnatural and horrible. I never liked it for 
you, Gracie." 

" Didn't you ? Didn't you, Tom '^. You 
thought of me, then .^ " 

Tom went on at once, instinctively on 
the defensive against strong emotion from 
Grace : 

" So now you want to draw back ? it seems 
a pity to have delayed so long ; but if you 
are certain " 

" I found it out yesterday for certain ; 
that I don't want to do it." 

" Yesterday f " 

VOL. III. 48 



114 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Yes ; yesterday. I heard something 
that opened a world of possibility to me, 
Tom ; a world of duty." 

" You are so impulsive, Grace. Only 
yesterday ? Well, for Heaven's sake don't 
take vows if you are going to repent after- 
wards. Refuse to do it. If you like, don't 
go back to the place at all. It's not an ideal 
way of managing, but this is a free country. 
I will take you to your father." 

"• Oh no. I have no wish to 2:0 and live 
with papa. He never had any sympathy with 
me. I should rather take the vows than 
ever again live with papa." 

" My dear Grace ! But do you know, 
since your mother's death I fancy he is very 
lonely ? With his large fortune " 

" Tom, he has no right to it. If what 
Mr. Vane told me is true, it came to him by 
accident. Through my carelessness ; mine ! 
It should have been Mr. Palmer's. How, 
Tom, could I enjoy a fortune that has 
robbed yoic f " 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, II5 



He was silent for a moment. 

" I have never undersood it exactly," said 
Tom at last ; '* but certainly I don't accuse 
Sir Joseph of robbing us. He has done a 
good deal for me. At the time of our smash, 
he offered me work." 

" You refused it ? " 

" For two or three reasons. I'm not sure 
I wasn't a fool, but I preferred my music. 
I am getting on now as well as a man 
trained for an amateur and without genius 
can expect, and I like my work very much." 

Grace was not to be decoyed into side 
paths. 

" Did papa only offer you work ? Tom, 
the only fair thing is for Mr. Palmer and 
iox yoiL to share success." 

*' Dear Grace, it is impossible." 

"Is there no way 1 None, Tom 1 " 

He felt uncomfortable and bei^an to 
saunter about again. 

** It was only yesterday," continued Grace, 
'' that I heard all this. I heard yesterday 



Il6 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

that you were living in this wretched way. 
I had supposed you happy, flourishing; 
married to LiHth Turold." 

"No, that came to an end long ago," said 
Tom, calmly ; '* how is it you had not 
heard?" 

** I had buried myself, not thinking these 
things could concern me. And now Lilith 
is marrying Mr. Vane immediately " 

'* Is that so ? I knew they were engaged.'* 

" You speak quietly, Tom. You do not 
care very much ? Why should you .-^ Why 
should your life be spoiled, because a heart- 
less girl " 

" Hush, Grace ; you must be careful what 
you say of Miss Turold. She stuck to me 
as long as she could." 

" She did not love you, Tom ! " 

" Indeed, Grace, if she is to marry another 
man it is to be hoped she loves him. Why 
need we discuss it ? " 

" Ah, Tom, you are scarred, but it is 
not any longer an open wound. Tom, all 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, II7 

women are not alike ; there are some 
capable of a true, a lasting affection ; some, 
who, if their love is crossed, know what it is 
to break their heart." 

Tom felt himself flushing uncomfortably. 

" Well, Grace — and your own affairs ? 
Come now, am I right in conniving at 
your escape ? Won't you be angry with 
me afterwards ? A sudden freak like 
this " 

'' If I return to the convent," said Grace, 
stretching out her hands, but with dignity 
and pathos, '' I shall make the Profession. 
I shall doom myself to great darkness, to 
death in life, to suicide. At least, so It 
seems to me now, while I sit here in the 
sunshine — in an ordinary room — with you. 
I have brought it on myself ? Yes ; but 
because I was hopeless. I am not hopeless 
to-day. Tom, can you see no way of saving 
me?" 

He was enough moved to question his 
right of further affecting misunderstanding. 



Il8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Moreover, he was really very fond of her. 
She belonged to that early home-life of his, 
to which he looked back as to a time of 
cloudless happiness. And he was not able 
to hear her appeal for deliverance from the 
consequences of her own folly, without a 
strong wish to come to her rescue. Appa- 
rently there was In Grace's mind only one 
way that he could do It, and it was easy for 
him to see that the advantages of the course 
proposed would be very far from Grace's 
alone. 

He left her and stood thoughtfully at the 
window. It was a sunny morning, still with 
winter's cold brilliance. The pavements 
were dry, and the frail skirts of a child 
selling daffodils fluttered in the breeze as 
she danced along, waylaying foot-passengers. 
Mr. Palmer and the little lad who led him 
daily for his morning walk would be return- 
ing presently, and both the little flower girl 
and Tom himself looked up and down the 
street for the blind man's coming. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. I19 

"Hallo! what's this?" exclaimed Tom, 
aloud ; finding a not unwelcome interruption 
to the tete-d-tUe, in the sight of a cab driven 
up to the door, from which descended strange 
agitated persons, one a policeman. They 
were holding a consultation, apparently as 
to the lifting out of some one else still in the 
vehicle, when Tom suddenly discerned the 
blind man's little attendant, now in tears of 
sorrow and fright. 

*' Grace ! It is father ! " exclaimed the 
young man hurrying out ; " he has met with 
an accident." 




CHAPTER IV. 



O one could have been firmer on his 
legs than old Mr. Palmer when he 
walked with his adopted son. But Jamie, 
his little orphan prot^gd^ nervous himself, 
made the blind man unconfessedly nervous 
too, and their wanderings were peril-fraught 
when they ventured beyond the very 
quietest streets. Luckily the pair looked so 
helpless and so kind to each other, that they 
attracted compassion : drivers pulled up 
without ill-humour, and many an arm had 
given them unexpected aid. But to-day the 
long-dreaded calamity had come ; Jamie lost 
his head, gave contradictory directions, 
pulled his master in vain ; then fled to 
safety himself, and finally fainted with terror 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 121 

and remorse. Mr. Palmer was run over ; 
and then the policeman and a strange man 
brought him and the weeping child home in 
a cab. 

"Oh, Mr. Tom, it was all my fault!" 
sobbed Jamie, not at all heroic, '' and I've 
killed dear master. Oh, whatever shall I 
do! Whatever shall I do!" 

'' Yes, it was the little boy's fault," said 
the strange gentleman, '* but my driver was 
to blame too. I had doubts of his sobriety 
when I took him, and I've got his name 
and number. Shall I fetch a doctor for you, 
Tom } " 

It was Gilbert Turold. Tom felt a rush 
of great pleasure, and they shook hands 
warmly, forgetting their differences. 

'* I fear he is much injured," said Mr. 
Turold, who seemed greatly concerned ; '' is 
Mrs. Palmer at home ? You will want a 
nurse." 

*' There is one here," said Sister Atha- 
nasia advancing, serene in her reordered 



122 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

conventual garb. She at once took her post 
with the confidence of the trained hospital 
worker; Mr. Turold did not recognize her 
as the beautiful Miss Kidson whom he had 
seen a few times under different auspices. 

" I cannot tell you how distressed I am ! '* 
said Gilbert Turold ; " I fear It's a bad case 
— a bad case. How are you yourself, 
Tom ? " 

'' I ? " said Tom, impatiently ; a thousand 
things surging up in his mind which he wanted 
to say. He had not seen this man for two 
years and more ; possibly might never see 
him again, and he wanted to ask for Lllith. 
He began abruptly : 

" Has she ever understood that 1 did 
not do all that with the sole Intention of 
annoying her and you ? " 

Mr. Turold's thoughts had not gone as 
quickly as Tom's, and it was a moment 
before he understood the question. 

'' We never exactly thought that," said 
Gilbert ; " however, I dare say I did 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. I 23 

misjudge you. I was misinformed on some 
points, and you were not yourself In the 
mood for making calm explanations." 

"■ Nor you for calmly hearing them," 
retorted Tom. 

" Well — you threw away a fine position. 
Have you not repented ? " 

" No, I have not repented." 

He was silent for a moment, his eyes 
softening as they rested on the now un- 
conscious sufferer for whose sake he had 
lost Lllith. 

" How is she ? " he asked in a low voice. 

*' My daughter ? She Is very well ; grown 
a little older like the rest of us. She is 
engaged to Vane, Tom," he said In a tone 
that was certainly apologetic. 

** I know." 

*'They will be married this spring. 
Edward will make her a good husband, 
and she Is very fond of him, I believe." 

''Is Lllith fond of him ? " 

" Still waters are the deepest." 



124 '^HE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Sometimes.'* 

*' There has been no pressure put upon 
Lilith," said Mr. Turold, sternly; "if she 
consents to the marriage, you may be quite 
sure it is of her own free will." 

" If? Then it is not absolutely certain to 
take place ? " 

'' I consider it absolutely certain. I 
should be sorry to think you, or any one, 
meditated — a troubling of the still waters." 

" My only wish is for her happiness," 
said Tom. '' I don't like Vane myself, that 
is all." 

" My dear fellow, if you think Edward 
ever gave us misinformation you surely 
exonerate him of having done so wilfully ? 
I shall send him to you to explain and 
apologize." 

'' No, don't do that," said Tom. It flashed 
across his mind that Gilbert would not give 
his daughter to a man who had been a 
deliberate traitor, and that by this time he 
could almost prove the fact. But if Lilith 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 25 

loved the fellow ? He went on, stammering 
a little. '' Mr. Vane and I are on good terms ; 
we meet occasionally. I hope she will be 
happy with him. I do indeed. He has 
waited a long time for her." 

''And you have probably by this time 
formed other ties yourself ? " said Gilbert. 

But Tom exploded at this. 

'* That suggestion is a mockery. If I had 
nothing to offer Lilith, I had nothing to 
offer any one else. Or is she still to be 
regarded as a princess requiring ten times 
more than any other woman '^. I don't think 
it was her view of herself. Upon my word 
I don't." 

"That is a very unfriendly tone, Tom," 
said Mr. Turold. ''Come now, I hoped we 
— I hoped you were going to permit me, 
even if I misjudged you to — to " 

Tom made no effort to help his uncle 
through this very lame speech ; but with- 
out being quite aware of it, their hands 
met. 



126 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

"■ Once Lilith is married I don't see why 
you shouldn't come sometimes and see me," 
said Gilbert Turold ; and Tom was really 
pleased, though quite aware of a touch of 
condescension in his uncle's tone, inevitable 
from the gentleman at ease who lived in 
first-floor apartments at Kensington, to the 
poor Chelsea musician who still called him- 
self the son of a bankrupt tradesman. 

Grace had by this time already got Mr. 
Palmer to bed, and he seemed fairly com- 
fortable when Tom went to him. 

" It's nothing — nothing " — he murmured, 
''and I won't have little Jamie scolded. He 
did his best, his best." 

Then the doctor came, but beyond a short 
examination he seemed to say very little and 
to recommend very little treatment. He 
listened to the patient's murmurs without 
remark, and stood for a long time looking at 
him in silence. Then he beckoned to the 
son, who was slightly impatient, as an active 
mind easily becomes under anxiety. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 27 

" The injuries are fatal," said the doctor ; 
*' at his age and in his low condition, I do 
not think he can hold out long." 

" Good God ! " said Tom, staring at the 
speaker with startled eyes. '' But you mis- 
take," he said hurriedly ; '' he is not old — he 
is not in a low condition. He has been ex- 
tremely well lately." 

The doctor returned to the patient's side, 
took his wrist and pushed his eyelids up a 
little. 

'* Surely you can suggest something," said 
Tom. 

And Grace looked up with tears of com- 
passion in her eyes, and laid her hand on 
his. She had replaced her veil, and was just 
the nun again ; heavenly in her mien, com- 
petent at her work. 

" Ah yes. I dare say he was cheerful," 
said the physician, still perusing the sick 
man ; "■ he looks to me as if he had been 
through great trouble. That is a kind of 
thing which kills elderly people ; after a little 



128 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

while. And the injuries are fatal/' he re- 
peated, turning away. 

Grace, the trained nurse, and Tom were 
left alone with the unconscious sufferer. 

** I suppose it is true," said Tom, bitterly ; 
" he was so cheerful, so resigned and con- 
siderate, one was apt to forget it, but it broke 
his heart, I do believe. I did all I could for 
him, Grace ! " 

The nun at one side, Tom at the other, 
they waited. An hour or two passed in 
silence, save for an occasional semi-conscious 
whisper. It needed no experience to see 
that the old man's strength was going down 
and very rapidly. Now and then Tom 
sought the nurse's opinion, hoping she would 
contradict his own. 

Then Mr. Palmer became restless, tossing 
himself about ; complaining even, talking 
wildly and unlike himself, with intervals of 
mere moaning weakness. 

" Mother ! Where is mother ? " he said 
petulantly, and called aloud ; "■ Polly ! I 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 29 

wonder you leave me, Polly ! Is she gone 
out, Tom, or where is she ? " 

" I have telegraphed," said Tom ; *' she will 
be here at seven." 

But Grace shook her head gently, know- 
ing full well that the sufferer would not last 
till then. She laid her hand on the sick 
man's brow. It was the very hand for a 
sick-room, soft and capable, gentle and cool 
and untrembling. 

" You are making Tom unhappy, Mr. 
Palmer," she said ; " your wife cannot come 
to you just now." 

"Who's that ?" said Mr. Palmer, quickly; 
'* oh, if it would but please the Lord to give 
me back my sight ! " 

" It is Grace," said Tom. " You re- 
member Grace ? " 

" Grace ! Little Grace ! " He fell back on 
his pillows in an easier posture, a smile illu- 
minating the drawn and colourless lips. 
'' Grace ! Is she here ? " he said, feeling for 
her hand and picking at the clothes restlessly 

VOL. III. 49 



130 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

till she Stopped him by laying her palm in 
his. '' I wish I could see you, Grace/* 
murmured the blind man ; " you had a pretty 
face, my dearie." 

'' Is my Tom here too ? " questioned Mr. 
Palmer, rousing himself a little and getting 
his son's hand at the other side, murmuring 
faintly, "Tom and Grace; my Tom and 
little Gracie. What I always thought." 

The girl's eyes travelled slowly to Tom's 
and rested there wistfully. He answered her 
look with a sort of deprecating appeal for 
silence. 

It was six o'clock when Mr. Palmer died. 
He had lain motionless for a long time, his 
hands held by the two he loved, his sinking 
frame supported by his adopted son. No 
physical suffering marred the peace of his 
day's close, and the griefs which had silently 
sucked away his life were all forgotten. 

** Polly," he murmured once, thinking his 
wife beside him, *' the boy has never left me ; 
and Grace is come to him. It's all well, all 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 131 

well, and I see light again ; and your face ; 
and theirs." 

The last words came very slow and falter- 
ing, and his blind eyes were already closed. 
From that on, he slept ; while the house and 
the street were so silent and quiet that the 
ticking of Tom's watch was plainly audible ; 
and while in the convent far away the nuns 
were praying that the Holy Mother of God 
would keep Sister Athanasia from temptation, 
and bring her home to them in safety and in 
peace. 

Grace rose at last and stood beside her 
fellow-watcher, who knelt on as before, his 
arms supporting the nerveless figure, his 
eyes on the untroubled sleep of the worn 
man who been his first and dearest friend. 
She waited a minute, her heart beatine 
strangely. 

'' He will turn to me now," she told herself. 
'' Dear Tom," she said at last, touching the 
young man's shoulder, '' he is gone." 

" I know it," said Tom. '' Grace, he was 



132 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

more to me than their fathers are to most 
men ! " 

He rose slowly, crossing the poor stiffen- 
ing arms on the breast and laying his hand 
on the cold, hard forehead. Then they stood 
side by side looking at the dead figure and 
both feeling that an explanation must be 
made before they could part. 

'' I wish I could have done more for 
him," said Grace, agitated by the long sus- 
pense. 

''You did all you could," replied Tom ; 
" the doctor told me it was quite hopeless. 
Those men know. I wish mother had been 
here, that is all." 

" I am so glad he knew you, Tom. And 
that he knew me ; and that my being here 
gave him comfort." 

Tom, still standing by the bedside, his 
eyes still on the dead face, folded his arms 
and spoke to Grace, slowly. 

''Forgive me," he said; "forgive me, 
Grace, that knowing he was dying, I could 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 



not undeceive him. He had formed a mis- 
taken idea ; but I could not tell him he 
was wrong. Can you forgive me, Grace ? " 

The girl had turned pale, her hands 
clasped, and her eyes downcast. 

" Do you not think," she said after a 
pause, " that when a dear friend is 
dead, his slightest wish is ennobled to a 
law ? " 

'' Father will never be dead to me," said 
Tom, looking at her for the first time ; " and 
if he can see us now, he sees why we cannot 
do it." 

Again there was a painful pause, broken 
by the quarter chime from a neighbouring 
steeple. 

" Because you love Lilith ? " said Grace, 
gently, raising her eyes to his. 

The colour fled from Tom's face at the 
words. The vision of his first love, the 
other man's bride, which he had been trying 
to banish from his eyes through all those 
silent hours of strono^ emotion, rose before 



134 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

him with sudden distinctness ; effacing the 
more beautiful Grace as the girl herself had 
always done. 

'' Because I love Lilith," he repeated 
quietly. 

They said no more, and no sign of agita- 
tion was visible in the nun. 

Tom went away to meet his mother, and 
Sister Athanasia remained alone to perform 
the last offices for the dead man. 

She returned to her convent. The ex- 
citement of the last twenty-four hours was 
over, and had left her depressed and weak. 
Only in a mood of strong excitement is 
rebellion possible under the conventual 
system ; the routine of the place is strong 
as iron bars. Once back within the gates, 
Grace almost refused belief to the fact that 
all day she had been in the world, agitated 
by the passions, sharing in the labours of 
brother-men. No dreamer awakened from 
his dream, no madman recovered from his 
frenzy feels his past state more impossible 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 35 

and absurd. Like the madman, Grace's in- 
stinctive wish was to conceal her outbreak. 
She entered with her head bent, and her 
eyes dim with tears. At once she was 
taken to the Mother Superior, the lady who 
regarded Athanasia as a chosen vessel, 
almost inspired, specially favoured by the 
saints. Grace knelt. 

" Mother, I missed Sister Lucia as we 
went. And there was an old man, blind, 
and led by a child, knocked down and run 
over in the street. They carried him to 
his home, dying ; and he lay there dying 
all day ; and only his son to nurse him, and 
no one to speak to him of the Church. So 
I stayed ; at the bidding of the doctor and 
of the old man's son. And I prayed for 
him aloud ; but he was never conscious for 
me to tell him of the Church. And at six 
o'clock he died. And I stayed to lay him 
out, and to pray for his soul." 

" Sister Athanasia, have you told me all V' 
asked the Mother Superior, very tenderly, 



136 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

for the day's work seemed to have ex- 
hausted the sweet young saint. 

'* Not quite all, Mother. I had known 
the blind man in the days when I was in 
the world. I had known his son too. 
Mother, I had loved him ! long ago — long 
ago, before I was called ! " 

" And renounced that earthly love for 
the higher and the heavenly one, Sister 
Athanasia ? " 

**Yes, Mother," said Athanasia, her head 
bent, her voice low and sweet. 

The Mother Superior pondered ; but love 
stories are illicit in a nunnery, and she was shy 
herself and forebore to question the novice. 

" My child, if you have anything on your 
conscience," said the gentle elderly woman, 
*' you will tell it to-morrow to your Father 
Confessor." 

Whatever it was which Athanasia told, 
she gained absolution ; and a month later, 
in renewed fervour of enthusiasm, she had 
taken the irrevocable vows. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 137 

Her reputation for salntliness grew ; and 
more and more as her cheek hollowed under 
the severer discipline of the black veil, her 
eyes grew brighter and larger ; shining with 
a radiance which was thought the trans- 
figuration of heavenly conversation, but in 
which a physician might have seen some 
fever and a consuming and impotent rest- 
lessness. 




CHAPTER V. 



R. TUROLD (who, it is needless to 
state, had not married Mrs. Gas- 
coigne) went home, thinking he would not 
mention what had happened. But an acci- 
dent is discomposing ; Lilith noticed that 
he was agitated, and her question soon ex- 
tracted the truth. 

" Did you see Tom, papa ? " she asked, 
having learned to speak her cousin's name 
quite calmly, for it naturally had to be 
sometimes said as a mere family matter. 
Lilith was altogether a calmer person than 
she used to be, so much so, that Lady 
Caroline thought her quite immensely im- 
proved, more womanly and conventional. 
But it is a question if Edward was alto- 
gether satisfied with his betrothed ; she had 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 39 

lost much of her vanity, her wilfulness, her 
nervousness, and her folly In general ; but 
then half her life seemed to have gone with 
these bad qualities, and what remained had 
apparently lost all interest for herself. Her 
beauty too was spoiled by the extreme 
fragility of her appearance. Never rubicund, 
she had now lost colour even from her lips ; 
her eyes were all softness and no sparkle ; 
and she was the despair of her dressmaker, 
all her clothes having a fatal tendency to 
do what that lady described as *' hanging 
about her in bags." However she made no 
complaints ; she was able to take long walks, 
or rides when any one gave her a mount ; 
and If she had headaches, or finger-aches, 
or heart-aches, she never mentioned them. 
Lady Caroline declared that marriage would 
restore her complexion and probably make 
her portly and magnificent, like the other 
dames of the Turold race. 

" Did you see Tom, papa } " questioned 
LIHth. 



I40 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

''Oh, just for an instant," replied her 
father. 

" I am so sorry about it, papa ! To 
think one of us should have hurt poor Mr. 
Palmer ! " , 

" That is a silly remark, my dear ; it was 
the merest accident. I dare say, I'll call after 
a few days and inquire." 

To Lilith it seemed shocking that her 
father's hansom should have been the one 
to run over Tom's Mr. Palmer, though by 
the merest accident. It did not appear to 
her enough that her father should call in 
a few days to inquire. She wanted Tom to 
know that she, personally, was very sorry. 

In these days Lilith, being no longer a 
princess, was in the habit of walking about 
the streets alone, and sometimes she went 
out later and strayed farther than Mr. 
Turold or Edward altogether approved. 

This evening her father was dining with 
a friend at his club, and Lilith, instead of 
sitting down to her solitary meal, took her 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, I41 

hat and went out. She walked along 
vaguely ; but a spirit in her feet carried 
her to Fitzroy Square, where she knew her 
cousin and his adopted parents lived. Once 
before Lilith had gone there shivering with 
fear that Tom might see her and think 
she had done it on purpose. But he had 
not looked out ; nor had Lilith ever looked 
out when, as was by no means an infre- 
quent occurrence, Tom had very slowly and 
lingeringly passed the house where she 
lived. 

Lilith felt for her card-case. 

" I will inquire myself," she said ; '' it is 
not a strange thing to do when it was papa's 
hansom." 

The servant who opened the door cried 
so much as she gave an account of the 
occurrence and its sequel, that Lilith had 
difficulty in understanding what she said. 
But this was a terrible ending to the acci- 
dent of which Mr. Turold had made so 
little! It had never occurred to the girl 



142 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

that Mr. Palmer might die ; and she could 
not get over the feeling that she and her 
father had somehow killed him. 

'* Let me speak to the nurse," said Lilith ; 
" you say there is no one else in the 
house ? " 

She walked absently up the stair, and the 
servant, who did not know who she was, nor 
what right she had to intrude, and who more- 
over was rather frightened by the thought 
of the corpse, after a few steps retreated, 
leaving her to her own devices. 

But the nurse, Sister Athanasia, having 
finished her work, and not wishing to see 
Tom again, had already left the house ; and 
Lilith only found little Jamie crying outside 
the locked door of the death-chamber. 
Much relieved by the coming of a lady, 
though a strange one, Jamie let her enter; 
then thought he had done wrong, ran away 
to the kitchen, and soon after escaped home 
to his mother. 

Lilith had supposed herself going in to 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 43 

speak with the nurse ; she found herself alone 
in a solemn room where two tall candles 
were burning, and where was a bed, and 
on it the long, straightened figure of the 
dead man. The most ordinary face is 
beautified by death ; Mr. Palmer lay there, 
like Love and Peace and Happiness in 
bodily presence. 

She knelt awestruck ; unconscious of more 
than the sacredness of the place she had 
entered. She had known Mr. Palmer very 
slightly, but on Tom's authority had given 
him respect ; when he fell on blindness and 
on evil days she had come near to loving 
him, so sincere had been her pity. Now 
the majesty of Death had for ever hallowed 
him to her imagination ; he was lifted at 
once above the commonness of life, and 
become something reverend and holy : 
crowned with the unfading crown of mystic 
victory ; and, in his rapture of repose on 
this his first day of death, and still clad in 
his dim earthly part, yet revealing to her 



144 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

in some strange way ** bright shoots of 
everlastingness." 

How long Lilith knelt there, she could 
not tell ; she had forgotten all external 
circumstances, her own and other people's, 
and did not notice that she had made 
herself the guardian of the death-chamber ; 
nor did she hear the stopping of a vehicle 
at the house, the opening of the hall-door, 
the fall of footsteps on the stair. 

Tom had gone to the station to meet 
Mrs. Palmer and to break to her the news 
of her bereavement ; now he had brought 
her home. 

*' Let me go straight upstairs,'* said the 
widow ; '' take me to him at once, my 
dear." 

And Tom, his arm round her and tears 
in his own honest eyes, led her through 
the narrow hall and up to the first floor, 
where the blind man had had his room ; 
in which he was now waiting to be carried 
away on his last sad journey, to return to 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 145 

his home, and his wife, and his son, no 
more. 

" You will find Grace there with him," 
said Tom ; and he opened the door and 
brought his mother in. 

But the figure kneeling by the corpse 
and reverently kissing the dead hand was 
not Grace. Tom knew her at once, even 
before she had lifted her head, and looked 
at him. 

Lilith rose and stood aside, as the widow 
advanced. She said nothing ; but waited, 
her hands crossed on her breast and her 
eyes dim with unshed tears. She stood in 
the background waiting, her look on the 
dead man and the weeping woman ; and 
Tom remained by the door, and never took 
his eyes from his lost sweetheart's face. 
What wonder had brought her there ? and 
with that air of peace and gentleness, as 
if she had been holding converse with 
spirits from heaven while she kept watch in 
that dim chamber of sad death" ? 

VOL. III. 50 



146 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

Presently poor Mrs. Palmer's grief became 
overpowering to her ; the shock had beeti 
so sudden, and the blow was to her so 
terrible that it seemed unbearable. Lilith 
came forward at last to try and help the 
poor thing ; she laid one hand on her 
shoulder, the other on her clenched fingers, 
saying nothing and letting her own quiet 
tears fall unheeded to mingle with the 
widow's. 

Mrs. Palmer had hardly listened when her 
son had told her about Grace ; finding not 
Grace but Lilith, she concluded without 
thinking much that she had just mistaken 
what he had said. Mrs. Palmer had never 
attained to any intimacy with Lilith, nor 
had even greatly liked her; but their hearts 
came together now. 

*' My dear — my dear" — murmured poor 
Mrs. Palmer; and let the girl raise her, and 
then she sank into her arms, and wept; 
but less terribly, and on Lilith's breast. 

Tom said not a word, but his eyes never 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 47 

moved. That was Lilith he was watching, 
his lost Lilith ; and she was embracing 
and caring for and comforting the homely 
woman who had been to him a mother. 

Half an hour later, Lilith was preparing 
to go home. No one had asked an expla- 
nation of her presence, nor had she volun- 
teered it. She had indeed said very little ; 
nothinof to her cousin. He took her down- 
stairs, however, and it seemed to them both 
impossible that they should meet and part 
thus in silence. Lilith was still strangely 
calm, but she was more conscious of herself 
now, and was conscious also that she was 
in the presence of the man who had been 
her lover. 

The little parlour where he had sat with 
Grace was unlighted ; Tom took her in 
there, leaving the door open so that 
a few rays came to them from the hall 
lamp. She spoke first, of course. 

'* Oh, Tom, it was an accident ! Papa 
and I are so sorry. It was his driver's fault 



148 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

— a cab-driver ! I came here hoping to tell 
you how sorry we were. I did not know 
he was dead, Tom ! I had no idea — papa 
had no idea — it would kill him." 

" Thank you for coming, Lilith." 

There was a short silence. 

" Lilith, may I speak of anything else "^ " 

*'Yes, Tom, if you wish." 

" I want you to forgive me for — for our 
last meeting. If that is possible." 

'' I did forgive — I wanted to tell you " 

She stopped, but as if she would willingly 
have added more could she have trusted 
herself. 

'' Thank you." 

" You know I am engaged to Edward ? " 
said Lilith, clasping her hands tightly 
together. 

'' He told me." 

" It — it's not quite an ordinary engage- 
ment," she went on, her composure shaken 
a little ; " he's to wait as long as I choose. 
I have never kissed him — never. But, yes. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 1 49 

Tm to marry him, — If I marry any one. If 
I have your leave, that is." 

*' What have I to do with it, Lihth } " 

" True ; that was a fooHsh thing to 
say. I don't love Edward. I mean not 
much ; but I have — I suppose — agreed to 
marry him some time. Papa thinks it is 
my duty. Edward has been very good to 
papa — to me. You don't think it is wrong, 
do you ? I mean to marry a man one doesn't 
love ? 

" You said you didn't love him much',' 
said Tom, with a moment's bitterness : then 
he checked himself. " No, no ; of course 
it is not wrong. You have always liked 
him. God bless you, dear."^ 

" Do you say that .^ What frightens me 
sometimes is the thought — I mean, once a 
long time ago I loved — another man. I 
hoped he would have forgotten. I am 
afraid sometimes that he " 

" Lilith dearest," said Tom, '' I love you 
so much that, once married to Edward, you 



150 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

shall never see me again. If it is that 
you are afraid of, I will put the seas between 
us rather than cause you one anxiety." 

Lilith turned away with a sob. 

'' Oh, Tom, you have been true, and I 
have not ! " she murmured ; '* you must hate 
me!" 

Tom clenched his hand, but he spoke 
quietly. 

'' No, no. I have never looked at it like 
that. Never, Lilith." 

There was another short silence. Then 
Lilith came forward with both her hands 
extended. She had recovered her calm 
now. 

*' Good-bye, Tom ! It is good-bye for 
ever. But I am glad to have seen you." 

'' Good-bye, Lilith." 

He held her hands for a moment, their 
eyes fixed on each other's, both of them 
very quiet and very grave. Then he raised 
her two hands to his lips and kissed them ; 
coldly he hoped ; and turned away and let 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 151 

her leave him. She went out, lifting the 
latch and shuttinof the door herself. 

Afterwards alone, in the dark, Tom sank 
on his knees by the table and buried his 
head on his arms. The long terrible day, 
the agitation, the anxiety, the bereavement, 
and now — Lilith ! all following on months 
and years of silent suffering, had been too 
much for him. His hour had come of un- 
suspected abandonment to weakness and 
grief. 

'' Oh, my darling ! my darling ! " he 
mourned. *' How changed she is ! It is 
killing her!" 

It seemed to him that to-night for the 
first time he realized how happy he could 
have been with Lilith ; changed though she 
was ; partly perhaps because of the change. 

After a time he rose; and quieted himself; 
and prepared to take up the burden of 
life again, resigned and patient as usual. 
He sought his mother; and turned back to 
that other grief, the sorrow which he could 



152 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

and did share with her from the bottom 
of his heart. Not quite as other men are 
to their sons had John Palmer been to him ! 
But all through that night, restless and 
sorrow-worn, he was torturing himself with 
the question, was he right to let Lilith 
marry this Edward Vane whom now he 
believed he knew ; and whom, in so far as 
he could tell, other people did not know ? 
Yet how was he to prevent the marriage ? 
If he told Lilith her betrothed was a 
liar and a slanderer, she would not marry 
him ; but Tom could not imagine himself 
saying this to Lilith, even though in a point 
or two he could offer proof positive of what 
he alleged. If he told Gilbert Turold ? 
His soul revolted from playing such a part : 
it was too like the part Edward had played 
towards himself He thought of going to 
Molesworthy and confronting the man in 
person ; of saying to him : '' You have not 
won her fairly. She does not love you. 
You have tricked her into this marriage. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. T5, 



Tell her the truth and see if she will marry 
you then. Let her take any one else — any 
honest fellow, and I will hold my tongue ; 
but do not sin against her by marrying her 
yourself." 

What would Edward reply ? Tom knew 
well enough, for already there had passed 
some cynical frankness of talk between them. 
" Much of what you say, Tom, is unluckily 
true. I did meddle with Howe and Stirke 
and Kidson of course. My dear fellow, if I 
had known who you were I shouldn't have 
begun it ! No one wanted to suppress Mr. 
Turold ; it was Tom Palmer who was the 
nuisance. But upon my soul, you are the 
only person I have treated in this manner. 
To Lilith I have been perfect. Ask her ; she 
will admit it. You can't have her ; that you 
know perfectly. And she will not marry any 
one else. Whether it's faithfulness to you or 
to me, no matter ; but she won't fall in love 
again, and she won't go through the bother 
of a mariage de convenance with any one but 



154 ^^^ PRINCESS ROYAL. 

me. If you hinder my marriage — you can of 
course — she will die a discontented old 
maid. If you let me have her, she will be 
prosperous and approximately happy. Who 
in this world expects more than an approxi- 
mation to happiness ? Though she isn't 
frantically attached to me, she and I will do 
very well together, so long as no one sets 
her against me. For her sake, you had 
better hold your tongue." 

A conversation of that sort seemed to 
have neither point nor conclusion. Tom, 
however, determined to do something ; when 
his own passions which that five minutes 
with Lilith had so powerfully stirred had a 
little calmed down again. There was still 
time ; the girl had never yet even kissed 
her betrothed. 

Reflecting upon that, Tom angrily re- 
gretted his own heroism, and wished he had 
himself kissed her to-day : had at least 
offered to do so ; there was that in Lilith's 
manner which hinted to him that the offer 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 55 

would not have been accepted, even though 
it had been refused with tears. 

They buried Mr. Palmer, and after that 
everything in the little house in Fitzroy 
Square became gravel and ashes to Tom. 
His mother did not stay long with him ; she 
found herself a post as matron in a Home for 
Friendless Girls at Barnet. Tom missed her 
unspeakably. He had a dumb and unreason- 
able complaint against his foster parents : 
so much he had given up for them ! and 
now the one he loved best had died, and the 
other had tossed him over for a pack of 
rubbishy unknown girls, superfluous, Tom 
thought, as Grace Kidson's nuns. There 
were moments in his dreams when he 
thought he might have arranged his life 
differently ; not better it is true but more 
pleasantly. In those dreams he was living 
at Turold Royal, and he had his Lilith. But 
it was in dreams only that he regretted what 
he had done or ached for the impossible. In 
the day time — well, he had his music. 



156 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

At the end of the first three months after 
Mr. Palmer's death, Tom was surprised to 
find that he had in hand, after all claims 
for the moment were satisfied, more money 
than he quite knew what to do with. He 
questioned with himself whether he would 
take a holiday or simply buy some new 
clothes. He did neither. 

Passing a certain well-known curiosity 
shop, he absently ran his eye over the articles 
exhibited in the window, and started as if at a 
whiff of wind direct from the park at Turold 
Royal. For he saw a small, broken, travel- 
ling-chest, which had once it was said belonged 
to Lady Jane Grey, and on it a scrap of faded 
embroidery worked by the hand of the same 
hapless lady ; two ridiculous, ugly, useless 
things, flung into the sale at the Court without 
special compunction, bought by Tom knew 
not whom ; and now here in the market again. 

He went into the shop, and asked a few 
questions ; heard of an elderly man who had 
" been after the things once or twice and 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, I 57 

seemed soft on 'em like," and of a handsome 
little gent with a longer purse than the 
other's, ** who meant business and was coming 
after 'em again to-morrow." Then and there 
Tom bought the two poor treasures, paying 
the thirty-seven guineas demanded without 
a murmur. For once let him have the 
pleasure of supplanting that little gent who 
meant business and had the well-filled 
purse ! He sent the treasures to Lilith ; 
and Edward got the credit of the gift ; 
though he smilingly disclaimed it and had 
his liberality and delicacy much belauded 
by so doing. Not even Edward himself 
guessed that Tom had any connection with 
the anonymous present which came to 
Lilith on her birthday morning. No one 
suspected him of having thirty-seven guineas 
loose in his pocket, nor of caring enough for 
Lady Jane Grey's needlework to be able to 
recognize it, among a crowd of dingy things 
in the window of a Jew's shop in Greek 
Street, Soho Square. 



CHAPTER VI. 

|HOUGH it was currently stated that 
the new and spendthrift heir of the 



Turolds had ruined not himself only, but also 
his uncle, yet Gilbert and his daughter had 
not descended into the obscurity which had 
closed over the head of the person still 
known as Tom Palmer. For a time indeed 
their misfortunes seemed almost to have 
increased their popularity. Lilith and her 
father were hardly ever at home in their 
Kensington apartments. They had endless 
invitations and the girl was still treated en 
princesse, though she heroically wore the 
same frock night after night, and it not a 
particularly smart one to begin with. All 
this time she was nominally engaged to 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 1 59 

Edward Vane. How she had drifted into 
the engagement she hardly knew ; it seemed 
to have been settled for her, not by her; 
but still when once she had realized it as 
a fact, she did her best to live up to it. 

Edward loyally observed the terms of the 
compact he had made with his destined 
bride ; and by degrees she began to feel her 
partially accepted lover a protection, keeping 
other lovers away from her so that she had 
herself to herself for the present anyhow. 
The world did not greatly notice the cold- 
ness of this pair, merely supposing their 
familiarities reserved for private. Only Mr. 
Turold after a time began to feel uncomfort- 
able and to wish the matter had been 
arranged somehow differently. The present 
state of affairs was unnatural and the chanee 
in Lilith, which Lady Caroline considered 
such an improvement, filled her father with 
anxiety. 

Just at present they were all at Moles- 
worthy House for Easter, Lady Caroline 



l6o THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

herself and her younger progeny ; Edward, 
a charming host ; Lilith, his bride elect and 
his guest ; and her father. Lilith had told 
no one of her visit a week or two ago to 
Fitzroy Square, nor that she had seen her 
cousin. She herself was hourly conscious of 
it ; it seemed to her that her frozen heart 
had suddenly thawed and that the streams 
of life and of love had begun once more to 
flow, though not yet under sunshine. 

" I don't know what to make of the child, 
Edward," said Mr. Turold to his prospective 
son-in-law, " and that's the fact. This last 
week or two I like her look less than 
ever." 

" This drifting is bad for her," said 
Edward ; " I have made up my mind to 
indulge her with it no longer." 

" Lilith," he addressed her next day, 
smiling pleasantly as he spoke and putting 
no more sentiment into his tone than if he 
had been consulting her as to the hour for 
dinner, " I have so often lately been asked 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. l6l 

when our marriage is to take place that I 
am going to request you to fix the day." 

Mr. Turold was in the room ; he thought 
of leaving it, then changed his mind and 
planted himself near his daughter ; such a 
curious couple would perhaps come to an 
understanding better with some one to help 
them." 

"If you are going to marry me at all," 
continued Edward, boldly, " you will be just 
as ready to do it next month as next year. 
Isn't that true ? " 

'' I dare say it is," said Lilith. '' I don't 
know that I care about it very much, 
Edward ; this marriage, I mean." 

" But you have given your word " 

''No, no ; not absolutely." 

He smiled. 

"You have given your word that you 
would marry me unless you disliked me 
more than when we discussed the matter 
first. Do you .? " 

*' No. I like you a great deal better," 

VOL. III. 51 



1 62 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

replied Lilith, frankly. '' You have been 
very patient with me, Edward, and kind and 
nice." 

" My dear child," said Mr. Turold, more 
than ever impressed with the unnaturalness 
of a pair of lovers talking like this, ** of 
course you are going to marry Edward. 
The only choice you have is about the 
time." 

'' Is that so, Edward ?" 

He took her hand, still smiling. 

" Yes ; and I shall be very grateful, 
Lilith, if you will name a day for this 
spring." 

Mr. Turold did leave them now, and 
Edward ventured to draw his bride a little 
nearer to him. 

" Edward," said Lilith, changing her tone 
a little, *' are you really fond of me ? " 

*' Moderately," replied Edward ; " you 
don't wish me to be too fond of you, 
Lilith ? " 

She coloured. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. l6 



"You think I have been unkind, Edward." 
" No. Not if you will be kind to me 
now." His voice trembled. For a mo- 
ment the joy of his youth surged up and 
his love showed on the surface. He re- 
membered the day he had seen Lilith first ; 
the delicate, joyous, sixteen-year-old creature 
in her white satin ; a princess in an enchanted 
palace ; brought to him by her sweet, stately 
mother, who had- been nearer winning 
Edward s confidence than any person in the 
world. Of course the Lilith he was to ofet 
now was not in the very least like that. Six- 
teen was left far behind and the white satin 
was worn out, and the enchanted palace had 
dissolved and the sweet sympathetic mother 
had long lain in her grave. But memory 
coloured the present Lilith to her lover's 
eye, and his heart shot up a flame. Could 
he but kick the dumb devil from his breast, 
and tell her he had a heart ! Could he 
but win some affection from her ! Im- 
possible ; he had not been born fortunate. 



1 64 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

He might have won the love of the girl of 
sixteen had he been free to set about it ; the 
Lilith of to-day was divided from him by a 
gulf impassable. 

"Come out with me, Edward," said Lilith, 
quietly. " I want to talk to you." 

He wrapped her solicitously in a soft 
white shawl, and took her into a remote 
corner of the verandah which ran along the 
dining and billiard-rooms. It was a fresh 
lovely night after a storm, and a brilliant 
moon with one attendant star shone in a 
clear sky, above a heavy bank of thunder- 
clouds, fantastic in shape with clearly defined 
edges. Lilith leaned on the latticed rail 
listening to the rapturous nightingales, while 
perfume enriched the air from leafy violet 
beds below. The girl looked adorable to 
her lover just then. A frail, spirit-like, 
ethereal creature, harmonious with the pale 
and pensive beauty of evening and moon- 
light. 

" Edward," said Lilith, addressing him 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 165 

with some abruptness, ** I don't know what 
you will say to me. What I am going to 
tell you now, I should have said to you long, 
long ago ; but I have been weak, and oh so 
puzzled. I should not know how to say 
it at all, if it wasn't that I believe you are 
half prepared. Edward, I cannot, cannot 
be your wife." 

He was half prepared. He knew Lilith 
well ; perhaps better than she knew herself, 
and for long he had feared that his scheme 
for entangling her had failed. Still the blow 
fell heavily. He made no answer, but 
remained standing before her holding her 
hand, his face blanching and his eyes fixed 
on hers. 

'* Oh, Edward, I am sorry ! " cried Lilith. 
" I have been wrong. I have treated you 
very badly. But it would be worse to marry 
you. Edward, you said when I liked you 
better I would marry you. But it is not so. 
It is because 1 like you better — I do, Edward, 
I do — it is because of that, I feel I cannot 



1 66 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

be your wife. It would be wrong. I should 
only break your heart. You love me ; and 
I — oh indeed I wish it was otherwise — but I 
do not love you ! " 

'' Is that all, Lilith ? " said Edward, very 
gently, and the sadness in his eyes moved 
her deeply. 

" Edward, I will not deceive you. A few 
days ago I saw Tom. I spoke to him. I 
know now that I love him just as much as 
ever, and that is why — it is the only reason, 
Edward — why I cannot marry you." 

Edward smiled bitterly, and loosed her 
hands. 

"■ He told me, Lilith, that he had seen you. 
I will not stop to discuss the honour of a 
fellow who can, so to speak, 'kiss and tell.' 
You have always pardoned from that man 
indelicacies which would be revolting to you 
in any other." 

A flush stained Lilith's brow and throat, 
and she faltered for a moment. 

*' He thought, I suppose, Edward, that 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 67 

you ought to know. He thinks I am going 
to be your wife." 

" Exactly ; and the only revenge in his 
power was to boast that he had tempted you 
into a moment's unfaithfulness/' 

"• Oh, Edward ! you are cruel !" exclaimed 
the girl ; " we said about six words and so 
quietly. He did not kiss me. How dare 
you suggest such a thing ? He kissed my 
hands. Only that." 

''Only!'' said Edward, sarcastically; 
" quite enough, too ! Lilith, I despise that 
man too much to quarrel with you about 
him. My dearest, I understand you 
perfectly. You should not have let him 
address you, and you know it. You are 
shocked ; you think you have committed 
a crime. Don't I know you, dear child ? 
You think this must separate us. No, Lilith. 
I am sorry for what has occurred, displeased 
if you like ; but I have no fear that it will be 
repeated or followed by any graver disloyalty. 
I trust you as before f implicitly, Lilith." 



1 68 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

This was not at all as the girl had 
expected ; what could Tom have reported of 
their very quiet, very restrained words, to 
make Edward view them so seriously ? 

" Edward, you mean to be very good to 
me, I know. And I do see that I have 
been wrong, not once only, but all through. 
Edward, it is not because Tom spoke to me 
and kissed my hands. I hadn't thought 
much of that. I had so often kissed him ! 
and I have never kissed you, Edward, never 
once. What it seems is that I owe my faith 
to Tom and not to you. What I feel is not 
that I have been disloyal to you, but that 
through all these months, in which he has 
been true to me, I have been unfaithful to 
im. 

"■ True to you ? A pretty sort of truth ! 
Do you suppose I haven't watched him ? 
don't know how he lives ? But you would 
not believe if I told you, and it is needless 
that I should. Lilith, listen now. If Tom 
were living at Turold Royal in his legitimate 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 1 69 

place ; if he were the son of an honest man 
Hke any of his uncles ; if he were a gentle- 
man himself, able and willing to treat you as 
a lady, Heaven knows I should give you up 
to him if you wished it. But, my dear child, 
Tom has at least the sense to know he 
carUt marry you ; he told me so to-day. 
Whether you are my wife or not, Tom 
Palmer (or Turold — Stephen's son) has no 
more right to make love to you than a shoe- 
black has. It is simply base of him to 
attempt it ; it is inconceivable that you 
should permit it. You would see this, my 
dearest Lilith, if you weren't blinded by 
your feelings. For Heaven's sake, do not 
break my heart and leave yourself in danger, 
for the sake of a sentiment, a phantom, a 
chimera, when you can do so much for my 
happiness, Lilith ! " 

Lilith buried her face in her hands, and 
turned from him. 

** Oh, Edward, you do confuse me so ! I 
don't know how to ^answer you. I dare say 



^ 



lyo THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

what you say is sensible. Most probably 
Tom and I shall never meet again. But I 
am quite, quite sure of this : whatever you 
think of him, / respect and honour him, and 
I love him far too much to marry any one 
else. I can't do it, Edward. I can only ask 
you to try and forgive me. Oh, I am sorry — 
— I am sorry. But I have made up my mind, 
and nothing you can say will change me." 

She rose at once and moved towards the 
drawing-room, in which Mr. Turold and 
Lady Caroline were now engaged in a 
solemn game of chess. Edward followed 
her without speaking ; his lips were com- 
pressed, and there was rather an evil look 
in his eye ; but he unwrapped the white 
shawl quite as tenderly as he had folded it 
round her an hour ago, and in sight of the 
chess-players, he took her hand and bent 
over it very courteously. It was the nearest 
approach to a caress that had ever been seen 
between the two, and a tear sprang to Lilith's 
eye. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. I "J I 

She went to her father and knelt beside 
him, watching his game ; and Mr. Turold 
put his arm round her fondly. He asked 
Lilith no questions, and when she told him 
she had broken off her engagement, he said 
very little, and was much kinder than she 
had dared to hope. 

" You will let me live quietly with you, 
papa, and be an old maid," said Lilith ; " oh, 
I am very sorry to disappoint you. But 
indeed it was only to please you, that I was 
ever engaged to Edward at all. You will 
believe that I tried to please you, papa ? 
And now you will just let me stay with you 
and repent of my sins," she ended playfully, 
yet with a lump in her throat. 

" You shall do just exactly what you like, 
my love," said Mr. Turold. 

Meantime Edward had retired to his 
alchemist tower, which was high up above 
the verandah. He flung the windows open 
and leaned out, listening to the nightingales 
still singing in the btshes. He had snatched 



172 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

at a spray of honeysuckle leaves which had 
brushed Lilith's hair, and he laid it across 
his knee as he sat there in solitude and 
gloom, thinking over his position. He had 
lost the game which he had played so care- 
fully for years, and he knew it : Edward 
never indulged himself with illusions. 

Rather suddenly another thunderstorm 
rolled up from behind, and the sharp 
patter of raindrops startled the sweet-voiced 
minstrels into silence. Edward rose, dis- 
gusted by a blinding dash of breeze-blown 
drops across his face. He shrugged his 
shoulders, flinging the honeysuckle far into 
the blast and shutting the window with a 
bang. 

'' I will waste no more time on her," he 
said ; '' after all she's a depreciated article. 
Good-bye, my dear ; good-bye." 



CHAPTER VII. 

If^ILITH went back to Kensington with 
Li^ her father, and they both of them 
shut their ears to the hard things said by 
Lady CaroHne and by the world in general 
of the fallen princess who had played two 
men false, and had lost her beauty, and had 
no money. She had still stout friends in the 
Mount Jocelyn family : Geraldine and Carry 
were both married by this time, but the 
vounof Viscount remained a bachelor and 
was still much of a schoolboy, and one of 
Lilith's dearest intimates. Having got out 
of her distasteful engagement, it is a fact that 
Lilith beean to take much amusement in 
Mount Jocelyn's society, and that altogether 
she became more cheerful, and ate twice as 



174 'I^HE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

much breakfast and played far livelier tunes 
on the piano. Her father petted her im- 
moderately, and he began to think something 
of a sparkle was returning to her eye, and 
a faint tinge to her pale cheek. The young 
Viscount certainly had something to do with 
it, and Mr. Turold was quite touchingly 
grateful. 

But other friends had Lilith besides the 
Mount Jocelyn family ; and persons these 
w^ere of a very different stamp, such as 
would have made Lady Caroline's hair stand 
on end, to say the least of it. 

It stands to reason that people who live 
(temporarily) on the first floor don't know 
or care anything about the permanent 
lodgers in the attics. Still Lilith's landlady 
did once or twice mention a widow in the 
roof who worked as a type-writer, and had 
one invalid daughter, and one a teacher in a 
High School ; and a big boy who attended 
some semi-charity day school in the City. 
After a while Lilith met the young teacher 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. I 75 

on the stairs and recognized her fine black 
eyes ; next morning she came face to face 
with the mother, Louisa Howe. There 
rolled over Lilith a recollection of joyous 
days at Luxor, and she seized Mrs. Howe 
by both hands and greeted her with the 
warmth of old friendship. After this there 
was acquaintance between the first floor and 
the attics. Perhaps in his fallen estate 
Gilbert Turold had grown less exclusive ; 
at any rate he made no complaints about 
Mrs. Howe, and he bestowed a good deal of 
notice on Milly the invalid, who was cer- 
tainly charming, as invalid children very 
frequently are. It is quite possible that 
on some occasion when no one was listening, 
Mr. Turold questioned Louisa upon the 
severely tabooed topic of the Palmer faction, 
and learned a few things about Tom and 
about Mr. Palmer too which raised them a 
little in his estimation. 

Lilith however kept off this subject en- 
tirely. Once Norah tried to approach it. 



176 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

but Miss Turold's haughty Hps and flashing 
eyes terrified her into silence, which she 
further enjoined with great seriousness on 
the other members of the family. 

Lilith's friendship with Norah was almost 
ostentatious : she had no doubt a deep 
reason in it hardly to be explained ; possibly 
some pride in her successful moulding of 
the young creature, who, a thorough good 
creature at heart, became quite nicely 
mannered under Miss Turold's influence ; 
possibly some remaining inclination in her- 
self to a Court and a maid of honour ; pro- 
bably some obscure notion that in cultivating 
Norah she was expressing remorse for what, 
in the old days of her royalty, Tom must have 
considered her pretentiousness. At any 
rate the two girls were a great deal together. 
Lilith took lessons in history and Latin from 
the accomplished young High School teacher; 
and she taught Miss Howe manners, and 
how to do her hair and buy her hats, and 
how to look and to speak like a reasonable 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 77 

and decent young lady, instead of a flighty 
barmaid. All of which Norah rewarded by 
extravagant gratitude, and romantic admira- 
tion and love for her friend and preceptress. 

In these days Lilith still occasionally 
played the harp, and Norah, who did every- 
thing well, was most useful as an accom- 
panist. 

One evening the young teacher returned 
from the meeting of a small orchestral society 
to which she belonged, and told Lilith that 
the conductor, Mr. Barnes, wanted them to 
learn a composition of Mozart's, which had a 
part for a harp ; and would Lilith like to 
join the society and take the part ? 

"To play in a band.-^" exclaimed Lilith, 
opening her blue eyes very wide, ''and 
among a set of school-girls ? " 

However she agreed, much to the 
astonishment of her father, who had his old- 
fashioned exclusive ideas about public per- 
formances, and High Schools and everything 
else. 

VOL. III. 52 



i;^ THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

So to the dusty hall where the weekly 
practice took place, Lllith's harp was carried, 
and Norah Howe felt two inches taller when 
she brought Miss Turold to play on it. The 
performers were not exactly a set of school- 
girls ; all were older than Norah, and some 
of them were of the male sex. Very queer 
they seemed to Lilith ; oddly dressed folk, 
with pale faces and wild hair, and a curious 
method of expressing themselves in their 
talk. They all, and the old conductor too, 
felt the harpist to belong to a different race 
from theirs ; and when, as frequently hap- 
pened, she played her instrument very badly, 
not even Mr. Barnes himself dared to 
observe the fact. 

Lilith, only half awake to her blunders 
and distinctly conscious of admiration, en- 
joyed these music meetings immensely, and 
had serious thought of proposing her friend 
Mount Jocelyn as a member, he being a very 
zealous and a very noisy performer on the 
clarionet. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 79 

One day when the band arrived, it was to 
learn that Mr. Barnes, the amiable con- 
ductor, had had a paralytic stroke, and that 
a substitute was coming, a friend of his, a 
young man whom nobody knew. Great was 
the dissatisfaction ; the fiddlers turned up 
their noses and shook their pale hair, and 
the cornet swore he would go home at once. 
In the middle of which the strange conductor 
walked in, silenced, all murmurs with a 
look ; rapped authoritatively with his baton, 
and got the band to business four times 
sooner than ever had been accomplished by 
the too easy Mr. Barnes. The cornet did 
not go home, and the older violinists, who 
had got beyond the long-hair stage, looked at 
each other, and nodded with some satisfaction. 

In full swing was the symphony and every 
one exerting himself to the utmost when 
Lilith Turold entered ; blushing for her 
unpunctuality and not daring to look about 
her till quite satisfied that her piece was not 
yet being dealt with. • 



l8o THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

A rap, too decided and too displeased to 
proceed from the timid Barnes made Lilith 
jump ; and then a sonorous voice rang out : 

" Second vioKns, attention if you please. 
And repeat from the introduction of the 
minor." 

Miss Turold looked up with amazement 
written on every line of her face. It was 
not old Barnes at all, nor any one in the 
least like him. It was Tom. 

He had had his moment of amazement 
two minutes ago when she had crept noise- 
lessly in with downcast eyes. For the first 
time he was unconscious of a muddle among 
his instruments, upon which accident the 
guilty bassoon heartily congratulated itself 
But he had recovered before Lilith looked 
up, and while he rated the fiddlers, there was 
a sort of smile curling round the corners of 
his lips ; he gave her one glance with the 
faintest movement of his eyebrows, and Lilith 
knew he was pleased. A sense of the 
greatest delight filled her breast ; almost of 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, l8l 

merriment. There was no hint of tragedy 
in that curl at the corner of Tom's lips. His 
eyes smiled ; and so at once did Lilith's. 
Long months had passed since she had 
enjoyed herself so much as in the two hours 
which followed. 

When the practice was over, Tom ex- 
changed a sentence with Norah, and then 
dropped into what seemed an unending con- 
versation with the now very respectful first 
violin, who had got the band together in the 
first instance and had long been anxious to 
dismiss the incompetent Barnes. 

Lilith went out with her friend, but she 
bowed to Tom as she passed him and said 
" How do you do ? " with great affability 
which apparently produced no effect upon 
him. Lilith felt perfectly foolish with glad- 
ness of heart, as in the early days at Luxor. 
However she held her head very high and 
spoke to Miss Howe with the greatest stiff- 
ness and offended dignity. 

** Norah, pray tell me what has become 



1 82 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

of Mr. Barnes, and if that Mr. Palmer is 
coming again ? " 

*' I hope not," said Norah Howe, vigo- 
rously, " or of course you will not be able to 
stay in the orchestra." 

'' Oh — of course not," said Lilith. 

'* I'd like to give Tom a bit of my mind ! " 
continued Miss Howe, *' in the old days 
when I saw how quarrelsome you two were, 
you and Tom, not a bit like lovers — I used 
to suppose it was your fault. I was all for 
Tom in those days. Now I know you 
better and I see it must have been his doing 
from beginning to end ; though how in the 
world, Lilith, any one could ever have 
dared to behave badly to an angel like 
you 

With great dignity, Lilith here dismissed 
her companion, saying she was going to 
make some purchases and to visit a friend 
in Eaton Square before she went home. 

And then left to her own devices, Lilith 
was afraid people would stare at her, so 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 83 

hesitating was she for the next few minutes. 
She took three steps towards a shoe shop ; 
then three in the opposite direction ; then 
half hailed a hansom to take her home, then 
crossed the road as if making for the under- 
ground railway and tea with Lady Mount 
Jocelyn. The cause of her indecision was 
a burning desire to go back to the dusty 
music-hall and see if Tom had done talking 
to the first violin. Eventually, however, she 
got herself to the shoe shop and rather 
teased the salesman by her extreme particu- 
larity, diversified by well-marked fits of 
indifference and absence of mind. 

When she came out, lo ! there was Tom 
standing outside, and obviously waiting for 
her exit. He made no sort of apology, 
merely asking dryly if he might call her a 
vehicle. 

'* I always buy my shoes there," said 
Lilith, with great show of indifference, " it 
is a cheap shop and the leather is nicely 
seasoned and wears .well." 



184 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" But you don't walk about alone ? " said 
Tom, as they moved on. 

•* Oh dear, yes. Every day." 

** And carry parcels ? " he said smiling, 
and taking the new shoes from her. 

Lilith was determined nothing should 
make her smile. 

" I have become very independent," she 
said. 

'* And how in the world do you come to 
know Norah Howe?" 

" I am extremely fond of Norah," said 
Lilith, snubbingly. 

" But you aren't surely going to walk the 
whole way, Lil — Miss Turold ?" 

** It did seem rather far to walk alone," 
said Lilith, coaxingly, and with a sudden 
ignominious fall off her high horse. She 
tried to remount at once. '' There is an 
omnibus," she said stiffly, and then glanced 
at him to see what he was thinking. 

Their eyes met, and she was nearly be- 
trayed into the smile. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 85 

" Oh, you have taken to omnibuses ? " 
said Tom. 

'' They are more fashionable than they 
used to be," said Lilith. 

" That's a convenient theory," said Tom, 
laughing. 

Lilith pouted. 

" I suppose you are not going to conduct 
at that place always ? " 

'* Yes, if they will have me." 

" You do it very well." 

" Thank you, Miss Turold." 

'* As for me — I have only gone once or 
twice ; just as a favour. I shan't go 
again." 

-Why not?" 

" Because it's so far off." 

'' Because I am there ? " 

" Because you made me play that passage 
all alone before all those people ! Mr. 
Barnes never did that ! " 

** Because I am there ? Now, please, 
listen: I am coming- to see you." 



1 86 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

"Tom! How very strange you are, 
Tom ! No, please don't do that." 

" Then I must make the most of having 
met you for once, by accident. Or shall 
I put you into that bus, and go away. Miss 
Turold?" 

" No, no ; don't be silly. And I think 
you may call me Lilith ; we are cousins." 

*' I always think of you as Lilith," said 
Tom, softly. 

" As it's an accident, I don't think our 
having met does matter ; for once. Tell me 
all about yourself, please, Tom." 

He smiled. 

** I am organist in a small church ; and a 
music-master." 

'* I always knew you'd be famous some 
day ! " cried Lilith. 

" As a music-master ? I began too late." 

" But you compose. I have one of your 
songs." 

- Have you, Lilith ? Which .? " 

*' And I suppose you still sing yourself ? " 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 87 

*' Only in private. I tell you, I began 
too late to be an artist." 

*' Don't be cross, please. You are an 
artist. I have heard you play at that 
church, and I know what people say. I 
listened to the remarks made about you 
this afternoon. It requires an artist to 
conduct as well as you do. And it's affecta- 
tion to pretend you haven't a most beau- 
tiful voice and way of singing when you 
choose ! " 

** I shall begin to believe it all, if you say 
so, Lillth." 

'^ Will you ever be rich again, Tom ? " 

** No ; that isn't within the bounds of 
possibility, even if I were the musician you 
think me. I just hope to pay my father's 
debts and to earn a decent living." 

" Do you like being poor ? " 

" Not particularly," answered Tom. 

There was a short silence, and he piloted 
her across a crowded street. Then his 
manner changed a little. 



1 88 THE PRINCESS ROYAL 

" He is dead, Lilith. That makes a great 
change." 

'* Yes, Tom, I know," said the girl, stop- 
ping and laying her hand for one instant 
on his arm. ** I know what it must be to 
you." 

** He was friend — everything to me. 
There were two people I loved in this 
world, and he was the second. I wish you 
had known him better ! " 

" So do I wish it, Tom. But we were 
friends the last day ever I spoke to him. 
He had come to see grandpapa, and he 
rested a long time in my room. It made 
me so sad to see him, blind and old and 
groping about. We were great friends that 
day, Tom. Did he tell you ? " 

** Yes, darling. He said you had been 
very sweet to him," said Tom, in a low 
voice. *' But our hearts were breaking at 
that time, Lilith. He never recovered it. 
He never was the same again. And there 
never was a man who deserved it all less." 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 89 

" Tom, if It hadn't been for all that 
trouble he might never have known how 
fond you were of him. And at least he 
had you ; he never lost you ; and you bore 
a great deal to be with him. He must have 
felt that and loved you for it, Tom," said 
Lilith, earnestly. 

They walked on side by side, the girl's 
eyes fixed on the ground and Tom's on 
her. 

'' Do you see our house there near those 
plane-trees .^ " said Tom, at last. *' Suppose 
you come in and — see my mother ; and 
get a little rest, Lilith ; and then you will 
tell me what brought you here that night 
before, w^hen I was wanting you so much ; 
and you were such a comfort to us." 

*' Was I ? " said Lilith, colouring deeply, 
*' was I a comfort, Tom ? " 

He opened the door with a latchkey and 
led her in. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

|OM'S heart was beating fast as they 
entered ; when he had risen that 
morning, he had expected no such stroke 
of good fortune. LiHth was agitated also, 
and she shrank away from the parlour 
where she and Tom had said those few 
heart-breaking words amongst which had 
been good-bye and for ever. 

They mounted the stair silently to the 
rather dreary sitting-room, which had yet 
a pleasant view of the plane trees. Lilith 
dropped into a chair without quite knowing 
what she was doing, and Tom looked out 
of the window and struggled for an every- 
day mien and a commonplace remark. The 
room was meagrely furnished, untidy and 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. IQI 

dusty; its only conspicuous object the piano, 
on which sheets of music and blotted manu- 
script paper were littered. Lilith took up 
one of these songs and began playing its 
air with one hand on the wood- work of the 
piano. It seemed to Tom he must kiss 
her if she stood there in that contented, 
familiar manner for another minute. 

" You are hardly doing it justice," he 
said, smiling at her ; *' let me sing it to 
you." 

'' You are conceited, Mr. Music Master," 
said Lilith, and turned her back on him that 
he might not see how pleased she was. 

" Sonati sono i corni 
D'ogni parte a ricolta ; 
La stagione b rivolta : 
Se tornerb non so, ma credo tardi." 

" That's too sad a song," said Lilith, 
laughing off a lump in her throat. 

" Try this, then," said the musician ; and 
sang without notes now and very tenderly, 
watching her all the time : 



192 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Quand on perd, par triste occurrence, 
Son espdrance 
Et sa gaite, 
Le rembde au melancolique 
C'est la musique 
Et la beaute. 

" Plus oblige et peut davantage 
Un beau visage 
Qu'un homme arme ; 
Et rien n'est meilleur que d'entendre 
Air doux et tendre, 
Jadis aime." 

" That's rather better," said Lilith, with 
some slight embarrassment however ; " and 
pray, Tom, where is Mrs. Palmer all this 
time?" 

Tea came in before he could answer, and 
they sat down, very prim and proper, oppo- 
site to each other. Tom was cutting thin 
slices of bread with great deliberation and 
gazing fixedly at the loaf. 

** I have been dreading that question, 
Lilith. She is not here. She has gone 
away to live at Barnet." 

** But you said " 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 93 

'* Yes ; I know I did ! " said Tom, abjectly. 

*' It was very wrong of you," said Lilith ; 
** of course, I shouldn't have come in. I will 
go away." 

'' Won t you just finish your tea '^. " 

"It was very deceitful," said the girl, 
severely, taking some more bread however, 
and not hurrying. 

" I am really rather sorry, Lilith. But 
there was something I wanted to say which 
did not seem as if it would say itself com- 
fortably in the street." 

"What do you want to say?'' asked 
Lilith, still severely. 

Tom relapsed into silence, however, and 
there was a pause, the girl's colour coming 
and going. 

" Tom, there is a thing I rather wanted to 
tell you too. Not that it's any business of 
yours at all ; but it just makes me — I mean, 
if it wasn't for that I should be more vexed — 
or rather other people would be more vexed, 
at the way you have decoyed me in here." 
VOL. III. 53 



194 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

** I know what you want to say,'* said 
Tom, looking at her ; '' but I have heard 
it already, Lilith. You wish to tell me that 
you have dismissed Edward Vane." 

*' Of course it's no business of yours," 
said Lilith, laughing nervously. '' Yes, 
that's it, Tom. How did you know ? " 

"■ I should have guessed it to-day anyhow. 
As a matter of fact I was told." 

" I — I — in fact there were several reasons 
why I couldn't marry Edward. I wish I 
had never let him think of it. I am afraid 
I have treated him rather badly." 

" I am afraid you have." 

'* Oh, Tom, don't blame me ! I was dis- 
tracted. Edward understands ; he is very 
kind about it. Who told you, Tom ? Ed- 
ward } " 

"■ No, not Edward. I was told also, 
Lilith," said Tom, smiling, "■ that you were 
giving Lord Mount Jocelyn much encourage- 
ment." 

*' That's the greatest nonsense conceiv- 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 95 

able," exclaimed Lilith, jumping up, her 
cheeks aflame. " Jock ? Why, he's nothing 
in the world but a horrid schoolboy ! You 
surely didn't believe that, Tom ? " 

'' No. Edward had explained to me that 
there were only two men on earth at all in 
the running with you. He was one ; the 
other — was not Lord Mount Jocelyn." 

'' It was very rude of you and Edward to 
discuss me at all ! " said the girl. '' Tom, 
don't you think I was right to break it off 
with Edward ? '"' 

" Don't ask me. You have just said it 
was no business of mine. How do you like 
this house, Lilith ? " 

" Oh, you put me off " said the girl, 

petulantly. '' You are quite right, of course ; 
but " 

She rose and began drawing on her 
gloves, with a tendency to that lump in 
her throat again. 

" The trees are pretty, are they not ? " con- 
tinued Tom ; " it is a. good-sized house ; too 



196 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

large for me now mother has gone to Barnet. 

Do you advise me to stay here, Lllith ? " 
** I don't know. It's ridiculous your living 

in this sort of way at all when you should 

be at Turold Royal. I am going back now, 

Tom. Is that the bus ?" 

*' I had thought of giving up the house 

and taking two rooms at Kensington. 

Nearer you, perhaps. But we, musicians, 

don't like Kensington. It's all amateurs." 
''Then I suppose you had better stay 

here," said Lllith, apathetically, tying her veil. 
" I am thinking of a companion." 
"Oh ! Another musician, I suppose ?" 
*' It was more a housekeeper sort of 

person I meant ; to look after the dinners, 

and put buttons on my shirts." 

*' Of course you must miss Mrs. Palmer." 
*' I do. But couldn't one get such a 

person ? " 

'' It would have to be a woman. Does 

the bus pass the door or not, Tom ? Do 

answer ! '' 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 97 

" Certainly it would have to be a 
woman.'* 

" You might answer some old lady's 
advertisement." 

** No ; I am not fond of old ladies." 

'' You are talking great nonsense, Tom," 
said Lilith, looking out of the window. 

" I have a particular person in view." 

" Indeed ! " 

'' Shall I describe her ? She is tallish ; 
she never was very stout, and now I think 
might be called thin ; scraggy perhaps. 
Her eyes are a sort of blue colour ; not 
entirely unlike my own, I believe." 

*' You are describing a very plain person," 
murmured Lilith. 

'' But her hair is different. It is not like 
any other hair in the world ; it is very black, 
but not heavy at all. It runs into rings and 
frizzes, and feels very soft " 

" I wonder what business you have to 
know how it feels ! But surely — Mr. Palmer 
— you are not supposing that this person 



198 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

would take a situation as your housekeeper, 
and sew on buttons ? " 

" Would she not ? " said Tom ; " would 
she not ? " 

There was a long silence, Lilith looking 
out of the window and twisting the blind 
cord. The silence was so long that Tom 
grew frightened. He rose. 

" Are you angry with me, dearest ? On 
reflection I see it was an impertinent way 
of talking to you. Forgive me, Lilith ; I 
don't know why, but I can't be tragic to- 
day ! Lilith " — he joined her at the window 
and put his arms round her — " Lilith ! you 
once said you would live with me in a 
garret ! I hadn't even the garret then, and 
now, Lilith, I have too large a house." 

*' Oh, Tom ! " murmured Lilith, resigning 
herself to his encircling arm and resting her 
forehead against his shoulder. 

*' Lilith, why don't you speak .^ You love 
me. You know you do. You'll be far 
happier in this bare room, sewing on 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 1 99 

buttons, than pranked up on a glistering 
throne " 

'' Tom ! that isnt the way to talk ! Did 
I ever want a throne ? " 

'* Yes ; you were displeased when I 
toppled your throne over." 

*' And I ought to be displeased still ! But 
I'm not a person who can keep up resent- 
ment ; it goes out like a bad fire." 

'' Am I forgiven then ? " 

" I don't know. I really don't know. I 
think not. But it is all so long ago ; I can't 
bend my mind to it. Oh, Tom ! " she said, 
her voice changing as she put her hands in 
his, ''you have so much more to forgive ! 
So much, much more. I was much worse 
than you. But indeed — indeed I have re- 
pented more," she ended half laughing ; '* I 
am far sorrier at this moment than you 
are, Tom. I think you ought to forgive 
me." 

He turned her head gently, till he had 
made her look at him/ 



200 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

*' Are you quite certain now, my own 
Lilith, that I do love you ? " he asked with 
tender reproach. 

LiUth burst into tears of remorse, and he 
kissed them away and never reminded her 
of her mistrust again. 

Very soon afterwards they left the house 
and set forth together for Kensington. Per- 
haps the people in the 'bus detected smiles 
in their eyes as they looked at each other, 
Only one remark passed between them : 
Lilith leaned forward and whispered : 

" Tom, you will try and forgive papa 
and Edward too, won't you ? They didn't 
know you, and that's how they came to 
believe such dreadful things ; things that I 
told them even then were simply silly so 
much as to fancy. But you will forgive 
them, as you have forgiven me, won't you, 
Tom ? Please — for my sake." 

'' I am so happy to-night," said Tom, 
" that I can forgive anybody anything." 

When they were alone again, walking 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 20I 

the last few steps, Lilith slid her hand for 
a moment into his, another fear having 
assailed her. 

'' Tom, was it deliberate ? Had you 
meant to say it to me ? Or was it just 
what is called an impulse ? " 

'' I have meant to say it, Lilith, ever 
since that day you came to me and to my 
poor mother in our trouble. No, not quite 
that ; since the day I heard you had given 
up Edward. But tell me, my sweet, how 
are we to face your father without even a 
grandsire to help us ? " 

'' I am frightened to think, Tom." 

''Well then, I'll let you into a secret. 
It was your father who told me you had 
broken with Edward." 

" Tom ! " 

" And he added, Lilith, that you were 
flirting scandalously with Mount Jocelyn." 

" You are not improved, Tom. You are 
rude." 

'' Perhaps my uncle wished to suggest," 



202 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

said Tom, ''that I had better make haste. 
That's why I was coming to see you, 
LiHth." 

Tom's surmise was correct. 

Mr. Turold bore the news very calmly 
and offered no serious opposition. Probably 
at the bottom of his heart he had even 
some secret approval of his daughter's 
choice. At any rate he recognized that 
her mind was made up, and that neither 
persuasion nor coercion could influence her 
again. He attempted neither; and only 
allowed himself a few sarcasms on Tom's 
poverty and his very disreputable profes- 
sion ; and he made but one stipulation, 
that his nephew should assume his real 
name, the only one in the least worthy of 
Lilith. 

Tom spent the evening with them ; and 
Gilbert at dinner took his opinion on poli- 
tics, which he had not done on that long- 
ago day when Lilith had first brought her 
lover to luncheon at Turold Royal. 



PART X. 

THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE— continued. 

CHAPTER I. 

p^IME passed on, and Edward Vane did 
^^ not marry. Some said his heart was 
broken, and possibly they were right. He 
went abroad and did not reappear for a year : 
after this he seemed unable to settle down 
at home. He returned to America and so 
came and went, at intervals, for several years. 
He was decided to be not a marrying man, 
and was spoken of as an example of touching 
constancy in love. 

On the first journey of this self-imposed 
exile, Edward had taken his passage to 
Australia. He went out in a P. and O. 



204 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

boat with the usual heterogeneous company 
scattering itself all over the world. When 
the Carthagena was leaving the docks, every 
passenger except Edward had friends to see 
him off. The handsome, melancholy gentle- 
man so solitary, so reserved, so courteous, 
was an object of remark, as he stood ad- 
miring the leave-takings and watching the 
crowd who had come on board. Here were 
mere tourists for Italy and the Nile ; there 
a few officers for the Rock ; an outrageous 
family with sun helmets and white umbrellas 
reminded Edward of " the Important Party.' 
Then there were Indian tea-planters and 
Chinese merchants ; an unchaperoned damsel 
with bright eyes on the ship's young doctor, 
whose duty is to amuse the passengers ; 
then the belle of Calcutta returning without 
her children, a languid lady with golden 
hair and a circle of admirers ; and beside 
her the Marchande de Modes of Cairo 
who called herself the widow of a General. 
On the second-class deck there were only 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 205 

emigrants and missionaries ; the latter 
included two Roman Catholic nuns bound 
for a hospital in Ceylon, and a detachment 
of Salvationists who indefatigably beat hymns 
on a drum till they all fell very sick in the 
Channel. 

Bred a Catholic, Edward Vane felt a 
languid interest in the nuns, who were more 
dignified than the Evangelicals and gave no 
tracts. One was a slight insignificant little 
person, in appearance a frightened child, 
though thirty years of age. The other, 
younger in years, had a noble carriage, and 
the air of a person in authority. She was 
going out to ^ake a position of importance 
and was valued and trusted beyond prece- 
dent by her community. It was some time 
before Edward saw her face, but he had 
already recognized her ; Sister Athanasia. 

His first feeling was annoyance ; he was 
in a sulky mood and wanted strangers ; then 
he reflected that Grace even in her nun's 
garb was pleasant . to look upon. For a 



206 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



while nothing passed between the two but 
bows : it was not etiquette for the nun to 
speak except under necessity. But Grace 
had broken her rule already to converse with 
Edward and It was not impossible that he 
knew she had sought out Tom. It Is 
common experience that what has happened 
once is liable to happen again ; that the first 
fall prepares the way for the second. 
Edward knew that Grace wished to avoid 
him, but he was in a mood of reckless 
maliciousness ; he wanted to punish some 
one because Lllith had offended him ; Grace 
was the first person succeptible of annoyance 
who turned up handy. 

Then the wind rose and Sister Eulalia fell 
sick and disappeared into her cabin ; pale- 
ness was on many faces, and even Edward 
felt the necessity for some mental excite- 
ment If he was to keep up. Only Sister 
Athanasia's health bloomed triumphant, with 
the roses of fifteen on her cheek, and her 
lovely eyes lovelier than before she had 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 207 

loved and suffered. She was glorious by- 
contrast with the bilious-looking folk around 
her, and Edward was not singular in admir- 
ing her. As the gale increased, the 
stewardesses knocked up, and the doctor 
tumbled on the companion stair and sprained 
his leg. There were petty disasters in- 
numerable and the captain swore he always 
encountered gales when he had a cargo of 
missionaries. Grace's knowledge of healino* 
came in useful. She bathed and bandaged, 
consoled and physicked ; and was, as always, 
reputed a saint. But with all this going 
about among the passengers, some talking 
was inevitable ; and it scarce seemed un- 
natural when one day she found herself in 
conversation with Edward Vane, though he 
wanted no doctoring and was as steady on 
his feet as she was herself. 

'' You ruined me," he was saying, with his 
bitter smile. '' I hoped you would have tied 
up the wolf ; as you didn't, he stole in and 
carried off my one ewe lamb." 



2o8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

Grace reflected for a few moments. 

'' It did not seem to me Impossible," she 
said, slowly, " that Tom would have turned 
to me. He was wavering. But I retired ; 
and I will tell you why, Mr. Vane. First : 
there was my vocation ; I could not, except 
under the very strongest call, turn away 
from that. And secondly, though he was 
wavering, I had found out that his heart 
was still Lilith's ; that being so I knew the 
noblest course was not to tempt him to be 
untrue to himself and to her. I left him and 
returned to the convent." 

" Were those really your motives ? " said 
Edward, with apparent admiration ; though 
he felt rather inclined to laugh, at the 
brilliant colours her Imagination lent to her 
own behaviour as to everything else. Grace 
however was very serious and had no notion 
of deceiving herself or her companion. 

'' I do not think many people would under- 
stand motives of that sort," she returned 
modestly ; '' you do, I think, Mr. Vane." 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 209 

"You have heard me speak of elaborate 
motives also ? " he said, smiling. " Oh yes, 
but I am not in a mood for them now. I 
question if they are good — outside of an 
American novel at least — at present I am 
in love with primitive instincts and simple 
passions. I am not concerned for Lilith's 
welfare or for Tom's soul. I am furious 
with them both and I rather hope their 
marriage will turn out disastrously " 

Grace shook her head. 

" You do not mean all this — is it not a 
pity to say it ? " 

''Well, what I do mean is that I am 
disappointed in you. Oh you women ! you 
are so generous to the men you love, so false 
to others. Lilith belonged to me. Were 
you and I so unfriendly, Grace, that I 
deserved to be intrigued against by you ? 
As to Lilith — I was not greatly astonished 
at inconstancy from her ; she was always 
weak. But I did not expect you to turn 
against me. I had believed you superior to 

VOL. III. 54 



2IO THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 



your sex, which is naturally unjust, as every 
philosopher has seen occasion remark." 

Grace had not lost the weakness of con- 
sidering herself above other women ; this 
accusation stung her. 

" But I did nothing," she said, expostu- 
latingly. '* I had no communication with 
Lilith." 

" No, but you wished for it. You cast 
about how you could say to her — in your 
sublime self-abnegation — ' Throw the other 
man over and give Tom what he wants.' 
Did you not, Grace ? You know you did. 
I dare say you prayed for this to happen, and 
thought you were praying generously. You 
did not think of me. I say you were unjust ; 
and I owe you a grudge for it." 

Grace felt conscious-stricken and dis- 
tressed. But she did not quite like Mr. 
Vane's calm assumption that she had loved 
Lilith's husband. What had she to do with 
love — a nun and a strong-minded woman ? 
It was one thing to confess to herself that 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 211 

she had declined into folly ; quite another to 
have it mentioned by an acquaintance. She 
turned away coldly, resolved to prove herself 
independent of all the weaknesses of woman- 
hood, and above all independent of Tom 
Palmer. 

Next day, the only ladies visible were the 
golden-haired widow who had looked so 
delicate, and Sister Athanasia, the daughter 
of consolation. But she was travelling 
second-class and only penetrated into the 
nobler regions on her errands of mercy. 
Edward found her alone, trying to read her 
hours. He sat beside her for some time in 
silence ; then they gradually drifted into 
talk. It was very irregular, but who was 
there to care ? Sister Eulalia was seasick. 
Edward perhaps reflected that the superior 
passengers did not come into this saloon, 
and his contempt was supreme for mission- 
aries and boxwallahs. By degrees, Grace 
yielded to the charm of talking to a man 
again ; of talking as a human being to a 



212 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

human being; of Influencing and being 
Influenced : and of being flattered by a 
person of intellect. 

After the storm was over and when the 
passengers had emerged again from their 
cabins, the two still met ; when others were 
at meals, In the early morning, after dark. 
In a ship, even if people see, they take no 
notice. A voyage Is a dull, dull time ; a 
piece cut out of one's life, apart, immemor- 
able, when the most strait-laced, the coldest, 
have licence for flirtation, pour passer le 
temps. To make things more comfortable 
still, Edward told the captain that this nun 
was his veritable sister after the flesh ; an 
easy lie, for a Sister of the Church has no 
surname and even Eulalia was completely 
ignorant of her companion's history. Grace 
blushed when she heard the assertion ; but 
she could not contradict It without making 
a scandal, and by degrees she took advantage 
of Its convenience ; under cover of It the two 
walked on shore together at Malta where 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 



Sister Eulalia had permission to visit an 
aunt. Edward had long ago taken hcence 
to call Miss Kidson Grace ; now If he were 
to pass as her brother it was only natural for 
her to call him Edward. 

" I am the professed sister of all the 
world," said Athanasia looking at him with 
deprecating eyes, refusing to believe herself 
partaker in a lie. 

*' That is a very cold relation," said 
Edward, " do you never, Grace, wish for 
something warmer ? " 

" Oh yes. I had never any sister or 
brother of my own. Of course I had the 
wish : It was to crush these earthly wishes 
that I took my vows." 

''If you had not hampered yourself with 
vows, you might have found that though one 
person had failed you, the wish gradually 
centred on some other." 

'' What wish ? " said Grace, and went on 
hastily and incoherently : " at the time it 
seemed to me impossible." 



2 14 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Vows are a mistake," said Edward, with 
emphasis. 

'' Not all vows." 

"All, I think. It belongs to a vow tO' 
make one hate It ; as I found when I had 
vowed myself to Sarah, my wife." 

** Alas ! I have felt what you say ! It is 
a confession I could not make except to one 
who had had a similar experience." 

He smiled. '' Certainly we could not 
make such a confession to Tom or to Lilith. 
They are too childish. I never recovered 
Lilith's esteem after she learned of my foolish 
marriage and my repentance." 

" I dare say not. Lilith's history was too 
unlike your own. It is failure which brings 
sympathy." 

" Say life, Grace. When I talk to you, I 
feel that you have lived. When I talked to 
Lilith, she seemed a doll — lovely to be sure 
— but a doll, in a doll's house." 

There was a short silence ; Grace was 
pondering. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 215 

'* You kept your vow to that poor woman 
even after you had repented ? " she said 
abruptly. 

" Yes, I believe I kept my vow to the 
letter. It was not for long ; though she 
was a preposterous time dying, still I knew 
my release was certain." 

Grace clenched her hand passionately and 
turned away. 

" Yes, it is death which brings release ! " 
she said, under her breath. 

** My dear Grace ! " exclaimed Edward, 
'' do you regret so keenly as that .^ " 

She left him, with a stifled groan, and laid 
her head on the bulwarks of the vessel. He 
followed her. 

" For Heaven's sake, Grace, confide in me ! 
it may be years before you speak to a friend 
again ! " 

'* I shall never speak to a friend again !" 
said the nun. '' If I am to tell you, Mr. 
Vane, it is this. I am no saint ; I am a 
great sinner. I^ have adopted the religious 



2l6 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

profession for no religious motive. I had 
no vocation ; no real conviction. I did it — 
as I see now — in a moment of desperation. 
Now I would undo my vows if I could — if I 
could. I would be a governess, a servant, 
anything. I' would even live with my father 
as a rich and worldly woman ! " 

** Without entering on the controversial 
question," said Edward, gently, '' you now 
see that the cloister existence is inferior to 
the worldly life of a natural, intelligent 
human being ? " 

'' Don't torture me,'' cried the unhappy 
girl, *'by telling me the worldly life is the 
higher ! Let me cling to the faith that 
though I am unworthy of it, I have in my 
ignorance and my desperation, chosen what 
is the highest." 

Edward shrugged his shoulders. 

'* Well, take care not to relapse into your 
early scepticism. To a sceptic there is 
absolutely no question which life is the 
worthiest." 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 21 7 

He took a turn or two on the deck, and 
played for a moment with a Httle fair-haired 
child who had adopted him as a friend and 
a subject. Then he returned to the 
nun. 

"■ Is it possible, Grace — I ask as a mere 
interesting question — that you do not oc- 
casionally feel a wave of scepticism pass over 
you ? Do you never say to yourself, * Per- 
haps all this is delusion and mockery ' ? " 

'' I try to chase such thoughts from me as 
sins." 

" But do you always succeed ? " The girl 
covered her face to hide her tears ; Edward 
appeared unconscious of them, and went on 
meditatively ; '' what would happen, I 
wonder, if a nun were to change her creed '^ 
Become a Mahommedan, say ? Where 
would the vows be then ? " 

" The suggestion is horrible," said Grace. 

'' Yet it is only what Luther did ; a name 
abhorrent of course to good Catholics, yet 
generally considered a grand figure. Can't 



2l8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

you be openminded enough to admire him 
a little ? " 

** Oh yes, I am not a bigot. I joined 
the Church too late for that. I see that 
Luther did a great work." 

" Which he began by breaking his vows. 
He left his convent." 

*' He was a heretic. How could the 
convent have kept him .^ " 

" How indeed ? The vow disappeared of 
itself. Grace ! " he smiled not unkindly, '' if 
you want to escape, you must become a 
Buddhist or a Parsee." 

" Oh, it is wrong," said Grace, *' it is pro- 
fane, to jest on such a subject ! " 

*' I spoke in parable, not in jest. Do you 
know that in conversation with me, you 
never use a popish expression ; never name 
the Virgin or the saints, your beads, your 
cross, your breviary ? Your Catholicism, in 
my opinion, has fallen from you like an out- 
grown garment. You are a thorough-going 
Protestant, if not a rationalist at heart ; and 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 219 

if you will permit me to say so, I think that 
as head of this nunnery in Ceylon with a 
dozen sisters of the black veil under you and 
two dozen novices, you will be an unmitigated 
humbug. You, Grace, who might be such 
a splendid creature ! Religion or no religion, 
is it wise ? " 

" You must not tempt me," said Grace, 
feverishly : and he forbore to press the point 
then ; yet afterwards returned to it : fascinat- 
ing the poor victim, as the candle fascinates 
the silly moth, already stupefied and frightened 
by the darkness. 

At Port Said, there was coaling. The 
ship touched at sunset and in a moment was 
surrounded by the unclean barks and jetty 
boatmen waiting with their defiling freight. 

" They look like devils on a lake of fire," 
remarked Edward, as he and Grace stood 
watching the blue jelly-fish swimming in the 
sunlit waters, on the surface of which floated 
long lines and circles of black coal dust. 
"We must land, Grace. This is the dirtiest 



220 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

coaling anywhere." And he asked of a 
passing officer the hour for saiHng, not yet 
posted up in the companion. " It's my ideal 
of a stupid place, though," said Edward, 
" shall we go to the hotel and dine there ? " 

*' Let us leave the town," said the nun, '' I 
am stared at. No, not a donkey. Not in 
this dress. Let us walk ; the evening is not 
sultry." 

" If we walk," said Edward, *' we have at 
least the advantage of going alone." 

Still he insisted on a meal first at the 
hotel which Athanasia and Eulalia ate alone 
together and which consumed more than an 
hour. Then the other nun having returned 
to the ship, Edward came for *' his sister " 
and the pair wandered away into the dull 
wastes of this dreariest of settlements. 
Grace was depressed : she had spoken 
deliberate untruths to Eulalia, who was 
beginning to ask questions about her 
superior's behaviour. Athanasia realized 
that she was sinning irretrievably against 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 22 1 

her position. Her present conduct was 
justifiable only on the grounds that she was 
a captive seeking escape. 

'' Let us go fast and far," said Grace on 
setting out, but her feet dragged heavily in 
returning and in the darkness her guide 
missed the direct way to the port : purposely 
perhaps, though he denied it. 

'' A boat at once to take us to the Cartha- 
genal' said Edward, elbowing his way 
through the crowd dimly discernible in the 
starlight. 

"" Carthage7ia ship all finished two fifteen 
minute ago ! Gone. Baksheesh ! " yelled 
three little Egyptians In chorus. 

A cry burst from the nun's white lips and 
she fell at Edward's feet. She had fainted. 



CHAPTER II. 

EVERAL months later. A small 
house on the outskirts of an American 
town, elegantly furnished : a pretty room 
looking out over a wide and sunlit prospect. 
A beautiful woman dressed in a tea-gown of 
amber silk reclining on a sofa and languidly 
busying her long white fingers with trim- 
ming a baby's frock. The room is heavily 
perfumed with flowers, and a large assort- 
ment of sweetmeats decks the untouched tea- 
tray. A gentleman with his hands in his 
pockets is standing idly in the window 
munching a sugar-plum. 

" It is terribly hot," sighed the lady, 
throwing her work aside with an air of 
exasperation, and rising wearily. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 223 

" My dear girl, of course it's hot," returned 
the man, sharply enough, though in a low 
refined voice ; " what's the good of saying it 
so often ? An inconstant climate is the only 
one worth remarking on." 

** Edward," said the lady, presently. No 
answer, and she repeated the call more 
timidly. 

" Well, Grace ? " 

" You checked me before ; but I am 
determined to have it out with you before 
you leave this house to-night. I have 
made up my mind to go on with this no 
longer." 

'' If I checked you, Grace, it was because 
it is disagreeable for you to hear and for me 
to speak the home-truths which are I 
suppose what "having it out with me" 
imply. I strongly advise you to let it alone. 
I know all you have to say. I know you 
pretty well by this time ; you are naturally 
frank. I am not ; and you don't know me, 
Grace. Even if I speak the home-truths 



224 I^HE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

as openly as I can, let me tell you you won't 
know me one whit the better." 

" Perhaps not. But at least I mean to 
try. When will you fulfil your promise to 
me, Edward ? " 

" Promise ? " 

" Oh, don't pretend you don't understand. 
When will you make me your wife '^. " 

He took another sweetmeat and munched 
it silently, sitting down slowly and watching 
her. His deliberation was supremely irritat- 
ing to Grace. 

" I don't think I did promise to marry 
you," he said at last. "In any case, I don't 
intend to do it." 

Probably this answer had been expected 
by Grace. 

" Promise or no promise," she said, be- 
traying no surprise, ''it is your duty and I 
have expected it." 

** Your expectations are seldom very 
reasonable, my dear Grace." 

''What reason have you to give, Edward ? 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 225 

Do you want to marry some one else ? Are 
you tired of me ? " 

*' Not at all. Our relation is very likely 
to become permanent — In an Interrupted 
sort of way — If you will be sensible." 

'"■ I must hear your reasons, Edward." 

"Oh, very well. Take this. If I were 
Sir Joseph's son-in-law, I should come into 
favour, and share in the profits of the Sun- 
rise Oil, which somehow I should feel very 
dirtying to my fingers." 

''That Is no answer." 

" I tell you I do not choose to be Sir 
Joseph's son-in-law. Isn't that enough ? 
When I was a boy I married beneath me, 
to my cost. I am not a boy to do it 
again." 

" Beneath you ? " 

" Are you not beneath me, Grace ? I 
won't Insist on your father, but If you will 
excuse my saying so, you are my " 

" Oh yes, I can excuse you. I courted 
that sort of speech, I suppose. It passes 

VOL. III. 55 



226 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

comprehension, Edward, why, if the fact 
you refer to makes me your inferior, it 
does not operate equally in making you my 
inferior." 

'' Pshaw, my dear girl ! From the begin- 
ning of time the eame was for the man to 
catch the woman. If she let herself be 
caught it was a shame to her and a feather 
in the cap for him. The new moralists may 
prate for a century but they'll never get the 
fundamental rule of the game superseded." 

" I wish you had explained it so clearly 
at Port Said." 

" You would not have listened. You 
were too intent on escaping from your 
nunnery. Are you satisfied or shall I give 
you a third apology ? " 

" Do. Your first and your second are 
not very satisfactory." 

''Well then, I was brought up in the 
Church, and though I have emancipated 
myself, I have still a prejudice against 
renegades." 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 227 

" You told me my position was a folly 
and a lie." 

" So I think still. Yet an escaped nun 
is not a very honourable person. She. is 
like a divorced woman ; possibly excusable ; 
excellent for a mistress ; but with none of 
the qualifications for a wife." 
Grace closed her eyes wearily. 
" Have you no feeling for the child, 
Edward ? " 

** None. I don't want the child. I hate 
children." 

'' Unhappy child. Heaven grant it may 
die ! How thankful Lilith should be, 
Edward, that she did not marry you." 

*' Oh, I should I dare say have liked Lilith's 
children. You will oblige me, Grace, by not 
talking of Lilith." 

'' I don't want to talk of Lilith. I hate 
her enough as it is. Why should she have 
whatever I wanted ? Edward ! I have 

given up everything for you " 

'' No cant, if you please, Grace. You are 



228 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

vastly better off than in your convent cell, 
and you know It." 

" Let me speak, Edward. I have given 
up everything worth having. I have no one 
in the whole world but you. I will devote 
myself to you, live for you, die for you, bear 
reproach for you and never reproach you 
again ; but it must be on one condition. I 
cannot do It unless you will forget Llllth and 
love meT 

Edward rose with a gesture of extreme 
annoyance, and pushed the table from him 
with a jolt which sent all the sweetmeats to 
the floor. But he did not answer at once, 
and when he spoke his tone was cold as an 
east wind. 

*' You annoy me, Grace, with your 
Illusions. I may have loved Lilith Turold, 
or I may not. Love between you and me 
is impossible." 

Grace said no more. She closed her eyes 
and there was a long silence, the ticking of 
the clock growing painfully distinct and 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 229 



monotonous. An hour or two later he left 
her for his journey, telling her he would 
return next week. Grace took no notice of 
his farewell, scarcely even looking up. 

But when the door had closed behind him, 
she slowly dragged herself from her sofa, 
and laying her head on the table wept long 
and bitterly till she was faint and sick with 
misery. 

" I will not stay with him," she said ; " but 
what can I do ? What can I do ? " 

She opened her desk and counted the 
money in her possession. Edward was 
liberal and her purse was well filled. 

'' There is enough to take me to England," 
she reflected, '' and I have still three months 
of strength. I will go home. I will fling 
myself at my unhappy father's feet and tell 
him all. He hated the convent. And he 
also thought Edward trustworthy. He will 
understand ; pardon ; at least support me 
till I have brought the child into the world 
and am able to earn a living. Afterwards — 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



when I am strong again — oh, there are many 
things I can do. I will introduce myself to 
some of the extreme Secularists ; tell them I 
held unorthodox views of marriage and had 
the courage to act on my convictions. I will 
lecture for them ; on social subjects ; or 
perhaps against the conventual system : my 
experience will tell there; or if they wish^ 
against all bonds, conventionalities, vows, 
customs ; against marriage itself I must 
not be fastidious. I shall have the child to 
support and Edward will let me alone if I 
become a public champion of unpopular 
opinions. Never again will I put myself in 
his power. We did not love each other. 
Even in the eyes of the anarchists a loveless 
connection is sin." 

There was no time to lose, for next 
week Edward was returning. 

Grace packed her things, making some 
excuse to her servants, and came down to the 
coast ; then took a first-class passage to 
Liverpool, calling herself Mrs. Blacker, and 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 



receiving much civility and admiration from 
her fellow-passengers. 

Landed in England, she met with a 
great misfortune. In the hotel where she 
spent her first night, for she disembarked 
late, all her money was stolen. It was the 
result of her own carelessness of course ; 
but there was little comfort and less remedy 
in that reflection. 







CHAPTER III. 



I'^ILITH had a son ; a great boy able to 
^*==^ crawl about and to make a few sounds 
which might be attempts at speech. He 
dehghted her ; he was so unHke herself. 

They still lived in the Chelsea house by 
the plane trees, and Tom was still a music- 
master. Lilith sewed on buttons and 
ordered his dinner and copied his music as 
he had presupposed, and they were as happy 
as the day is long. Tom liked his work 
and when at home sang incessantly ; in 
her heart Lilith preferred his compositions 
to those of the great masters. She was 
"musical " enough herself not to be bored by 
endless concerts, rehearsals, practisings ; 
even by strumming out illegible scores, or 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 233 

listening to abortive tunes and incipient 
melodies, sung a few bars at a time now in 
this key now in that, with hasty and violent 
changes, as fancy prompted and the sublime 
thirst for improvement. It was amusing to 
the young wife ; and so was the unkempt 
musical society which they had gathered 
about them, and which they good-naturedly 
mimicked in moments of privacy. Not 
having been bred to the life, they could not 
rid themselves of the notion that somehow 
they were play-acting, and in amateur 
theatricals whose severest labour is all the 
while a piece of fun. It stands to reason 
that Tom was no very sublime musician, or 
he could not have entertained so frivolous a . 
notion for one half-hour. 

'' Tom, the butcher's bill is too high this 
week. It is your fault. You said the beef 
was tough. I told the butcher, and he sent 
a dearer sort. Do you like paying more, or 
shall we go back to the tough kind ? And 
I have spent too much on vegetables too. 



2 34 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

You liked that asparagus so much, Tom ! 
The upshot is, I want more money ; I 
haven't got any. Indeed I am generally 
economical, and should be more so if you 
weren't so greedy sometimes. Did I hear a 
ring, Tom ? Jane is so careless about 
answering that door, I think I must send 
her away." 

" I hope, Lllith," said Tom, rolling half- 
crowns at her one by one, *' you don't make 
that threat to Jane as often as you do to me, 
or you will lose all control over her." 

"■ There is the bell again. Most people 
would have sent Jane away long ago. I am 
too easy with the servants ; I know I am." 

'* Are you too easy with me ? " said Tom, 
taking her face in his hands fondly ; " do you 
ever wish to send me away "^ " 

"• Only when you are greedy, Tom. I 
don't mind voracity ; that's like the gods of 
Walhalla. But there is something so small- 
minded about being greedy and calling the 
beef tough. Tom, darling, I think Jane 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 235 

must be asleep or dressing herself: wouldn't 
you just open the door yourself for this 
once ? " 

Tom went leisurely on this errand ; ex- 
pecting to find that Lilith's ears had played 
her false and that no one was there. He 
was wrong. On the step stood a woman 
holding on by the area rail, even supporting 
herself against the door so that when it was 
opened she fell forwards almost into his 
arms. 

" Tom ! Tom ! Thank Heaven, it is 
you ! " gasped Grace, seizing his arm im- 
pulsively, and leaning on it so heavily that 
he felt its withdrawal would throw her down. 
Till she spoke he had not known her. He 
supposed Sister Athanasia a nun and in 
Ceylon ; not this miserable woman in travel- 
worn raiment with scared countenance and 
changed shape. Something terrible had 
evidently happened. He took her into the 
dining-room at this hour empty and gloomy 
with twilicrht, the table laid for the modest 



236 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

family dinner. Grace dropped his arm and 
sank in a heap on a round-backed leather 
chair, burying her face in her hands. For a 
moment Tom busied himself with the fire, 
partly because the room was cold, partly to 
observe her. 

"Don't— don't mind that," said Grace, 
incoherently, '' there is no time. Tom, 
listen " 

But the words died on her tongue and 
she fell back with a groan. He found some 
wine and watched her swallow it greedily, 
some pale colour returning to her lips. 
'* Tom — what brings me here is that I have 
no money. I have been robbed. I have 
parted from everything to finish my journey 
— to get to my father for help. I have been 
to him. He would not see me. He turned 
me out. I — I walked here. I had a plan. 
I can't do it — my strength is gone. Tom, I 
don't know why I came to you ! I was mad. 
I didn't know what I was doing. I was so 
terrified. All I want now is " 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 237 

Her words had grown gradually less and 
less distinct, and as she ended her head fell 
forward again as if she were in a stupor. 

" Let me call my wife," said Tom. 

At this Grace started up clenching her 
hand. 

" No, no, not Lilith. She mustn't come. 
Lilith mustn't touch me. I am not a re- 
spectable woman now. I left the nuns. I 

ran away. With — with But I have 

left him. Tom, I am dying. Don't put 
me in the street. My father did. Don't 
put me in the street ! " 

"■ Poor dear Grace ! " said Tom, taking 
her hand, **you did quite right to come to 
Lilith and me." 

With some difficulty, he loosened her 
delirious grasp and left her. He returned 
to Lilith and rang at once for the nurse to 
take away the little boy. 

*' My dear Tom! What is the matter?" 
exclaimed Lilith, jumping up from her 
accounts and running to him. 



238 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Tom put his arm round her and drew her 
to him, .kissing her. LiHth was frightened 
by seeing him so moved. 

'' Oh, what is it, Tom ? what is it ? " she 
cried. 

A few minutes after, Lihth, her husband's 
arm still round her, opened the dining-room 
door and looked in. Grace was lying back 
in the chair clutching Its sides with her 
hands, her eyes fixed and staring upwards ; 
then her lips parted and a long heart-rending 
moan burst from them. Tears sprang to 
Lillth's eyes. Dropping her husband's 
hand she went to the unhappy woman's 
side, knelt and drew her in her arms. 

'' Dear, dear Grace ! tell me all ! " said 
Lillth, kissing her. Grace burst into uncon- 
trolled weeping so violent that it seemed her 
very heart-strings must break. Lillth cried 
too, but sofdy, and holding the poor thing 
firmly in her arms while Tom watched 
them, his heart swelling. 

'' She has met with great cruelty or she 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 



239 



never would be in this state," said Lilith, 
with indignation as she looked up. " Tom, 
you must carry her upstairs to my room. I 
will put her to bed, and you, Tom dear, 
must go off at once and bring me the nearest 
doctor." 




CHAPTER IV. 

I^HjRACE told her story by degrees, but 
1^^ neither mentioned Edward's name, 
nor gave any hint which could lead to his 
identification. Otherwise she tried to be 
frank and spared herself no blame. Lilith 
was greatly shocked, but none the less 
tender to the poor thing whose misery 
seemed the blacker by contrast with her own 
happiness. But it was not for long that 
Grace was able to answer questions or to 
relate anything connectedly. She had borne 
too much to keep her senses In this hour of 
anguish. All night Lilith waited upon her ; 
and at dawn an infant was born, which gave 
one shudder, one convulsive struggle for 
breath and then yielded back its little ghost 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 24 1 

untried. After that the mother lay for 
hours motionless, pulseless almost ; her eyes 
intelligent and mournful, and still with their 
haunting beauty. Lilith sat stroking her 
hand, now and then kissing it with the tears 
ready to rise when she thought of the 
misery she could not heal. At half-past 
eight Lilith's boy, being carried downstairs 
as usual to superintend breakfast, uttered his 
joyous crow just outside the door of the sick- 
room, and at the sound Grace suddenly 
moved and clasped Lilith's hand nervously, 
with a strong shudder. 

**That is my little son," said Lilith, 
apologetically. 

Grace flung herself back. "• How happy 
you are, Lilith ! " she said, angrily ; and 
then insisted that her dead child should be 
brought for her to see. Unable to pacify 
her, Lilith yielded at last, and carried the 
little corpse to the bedside. Grace scanned 
the wizened and in some respects fearful 
baby face. She lifted the little clenched 

VOL, III, 56 



242 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

hand ; and smiled. It was strange, Lilith 
thought, to see her smile ; stranger still when 
the smile became a laugh, a loud jarring 
laugh as the mother flung the dead baby's 
hand from her with desecrating violence. 
And then she laughed on, wildly, with 
horrible mirth. When the doctor returned 
an hour later, he found his patient delirious 
and in high fever ; singing snatches of 
lullabies and Latin hymns in fearful mixture, 
arguing incoherently with some fancied inn- 
keeper or railway servant suspicious of her 
penniless condition ; lecturing eloquently on 
women's rights, or murmuring with ecstatic 
contrition of peccadilloes to her father 
confessor. 

" She will not live," said the doctor ; '' she 
was hopelessly enfeebled and all the 
symptoms now are unfavourable." 

Lilith drew her husband aside and insisted 
that Sir Joseph Kidson should be sum- 
moned. 

'' It would be too dreadful for them both 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 243 

if she died and he never forgave her ! " said 
Lilith. 

'' Men don't forgive these things in their 
daughters," said Tom, gloomily, ''but I will 
do what you wish. If I could catch the 
villain who is responsible, Lilith ! Who is 
it?" 

" She would not tell me," said Lilith, '' and 
I liked her for that. We mustn't ask her." 

Yet an hour later, while Tom sat alone 
unable to attend to his work and only 
languidly interested in amusing the boy, his 
ears acutely sensitive for every sound in the 
room where Lilith was watching — something 
like a cry not from the dying Grace, but 
from Lilith, reached him, and in a moment 
he had rushed upstairs to her side. 

"Tom," said Lilith, meeting him, ''it was 
something she said ! she does not know 
what she is saying, but she was talking of 

him ; and oh, Tom, she called him Tom, 

we 7nust listen now. To have half heard, 
to have a suspicion is worse than anything. 



244 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

We must be certain. Oh, Tom, it is too 
dreadful ! " 

Tom looked at her curiously, and though 
Lilith had spoken no name, he guessed it, 
and a dark flush mounted purple to his brow. 

The unhappy Grace babbled on less and 
less distinctly, but without rest or pause : 
there was nothing connected, only the great 
misery of a striving spirit which had lost its 
way ; and by degrees the babbling died out 
in little gasping broken sentences inter- 
spersed with groans and fits of wild weeping. 
So that Lilith wondered when the dying 
woman suddenly started into life and clear 
utterance again, raising herself and tossing 
her hands about wildly. 

*' It is cruel to press me for money in this 
way," she said, addressing Lilith ; '' can't 
you understand that I did not wish to ask 
him for a penny again .^ Oh yes, he'll pay 
you, I am sure ; but you must write yourself. 
/ cannot and I will not. His name is 
Edward Vane." 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 245 

Lilith started back as if she received a 
blow ; scalding indignation filled her eyes 
and burned her cheeks as she stood by the 
fire, her head hanging. It was Tom who 
tried to soothe and quiet the poor sufferer 
and to lead her thoughts to gentler subjects. 
But this was her last connected speech. 
Early in the afternoon she fell into con- 
vulsions, and after that there was no more 
fluency of tongue or restlessness of move- 
ment. Once she looked at Lilith as if she 
recognized her, and smiled faintly ; but there 
was no other lifting of the gloom in which 
she sank to her death. At last all was 
ended, and they brought the dead infant and 
laid it in her arms. 

But the look on Tom's face frightened 
Lilith ; she clung to him, her hands on his 
arms, her face hidden against his breast ; 
only once had she seen her husband look 
like that before : when Edward had spoken 
his lies about John Palmer. 

" Grace was like a sister to me once, 



246 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

Lillth," said Tom, sternly, " don't ask me 
anything for him ! " 

'' Tom, no," said Llllth, '' no. We could 
never forgive him — never. But, oh Tom, 
I nearly married him once ! " sobbed Llllth ; 
** don't you think It may perhaps have been 
my fault a little ? Oh Tom, you and I got 
everything we wanted and we are happy — so 
happy ! I can't feel that we are the ones to 
punish him." 

Tom was holding his wife's hands as she 
stood before him and now he raised them 
fondly to his lips, looking down questlonlngly 
into her upraised eyes, still with that dark 
look in his own. 

" You have never understood him, Lilith. 
I never told you the cause I had " 

He paused. After all was there any 
reason for telling her now ? 

" Oh no, I don't understand him," said 
Llllth ; '' perhaps you don't either, Tom. 
If you were to ask Edward about this, he 
would smile and pretend he didn't care. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 247 

But I think perhaps he does care. Oh Tom, 
indeed you and I are too happy to be able 
to understand him. It is not for us to 
punish him. Won't you promise me, 
Tom ? " 

''Promise what, my sweet? No, LiHth, 
I will promise nothing, except to bear in 
mind what you say. And, oh m)^ darling, 
thank you for your tenderness to our poor 
Gracie ! " said Tom, and bowed his head on 
Lilith's and kissed her, her hands tightly 
clasped round his neck. They did not 
speak of Edward again. 

Then Sir Joseph Kidson came ; too late 
of course. They told him all that had 
happened ; Tom with indignation as he 
repeated Grace's ravings about her father 
who had put her in the street.^ 

** Come and see her," said the gentler 
Lilith. Death had restored all her beauty 
to Grace ; no marble statue could have been 
more exquisite. 

" Oh my girl ! my girl ! " exclaimed Sir 



248 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Joseph involuntarily, covering his face. 
Then he started up angrily. '' It's what 
comes of popery ! " he cried ; " and how did 
she learn popery ? I bred her a Radical. I 
always did my duty by her, and she turned 
papist. It's a punishment on me for my 
sins," ended Sir Joseph abruptly, and turned 
to leave the room, his head bowed, his step 
tottering. At the door he stopped suddenly 
and raised his head. '' But I'll make it up," 
he said, with vehemence, '' I'll make it up." 

'' You can't bring her ^live again, sir," 
said Tom; *'you put her from your door 
penniless ; and it seems she walked the 
twenty-four miles into London with death 
upon her. You can't make it up to her." 

Sir Joseph's head sank again on his breast; 
he stepped stiffly into the street and Tom 
closed the door on him with a sense of 
relief 

No one thought any more about Sir 
Joseph : nor knew that he stood for an hour 
at the bottom of the doorstep, inattentive to 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 249 

the swift-falling rain. At last he shook him- 
self, called a cab and drove to Waterloo 
Station ; went in and took a ticket and 
chose a first-class seat in the train for 
Molesworthy. His fellow passengers stared 
at him a little, for he looked absent and dis- 
ordered. Just before the train started he 
got out again suddenly and left the station. 
He stood for a few moments as if bewildered; 
then walked away slowly into the dreary 
streets of south-west London. It was rain- 
ing and he had no umbrella, but he walked 
on. Grace also had walked through these 
streets ; how many days had it taken her to 
make the journey ? In what wretched 
rooms had she slept upon the road ? As Sir 
Joseph wandered on, his appearance changed. 
He relapsed somehow into the mere artisan, 
whose good coat had been thrown away to 
him by some superior. People thought him 
just a poor old man, rather thick of speech, 
rather flustered and deaf. 

At last he reached Turold Royal. It was 



250 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

early morning and he sat outside on the wet 
grass afraid to enter. It seemed all wrong 
that he should be living in style at Turold 
Royal, while his outcast daughter lay waiting 
her burial in the meagre home of the son of 
Jack Palmer whom he had ruined. 

A few days later Tom got a queer 
rambling letter from Sir Joseph saying he 
was going away for a short time, but would 
pay his rents and his servants' wages as 
usual. 

Three months passed and he had not 
returned. Then came a few letters to Tom 
asking if he could oblige with Sir Joseph's 
address. Neither Tom nor Lilith cared 
enough for the man to be anxious about his 
disappearance, and his servants were well 
content with their sinecures. 

By this time grass was springing over the 
grave where lay Grace and her unwelcomed 
child. Lilith had talked to no one of the 
death in her house, and it was quickly for- 
gotten by the two or three strangers who 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 25 I 

had known of it. Grace's name had not 
reached even these persons. She was for- 
gotten ; to the world at large, she had been 
buried when she had gone into the convent. 
There is only one person in ten thousand 
who has a glimpse of a ghost's career sub- 
sequent to the funeral of its body. 







I 

B]| (c^ rB_i raJ i"cLi raJ fgjH raJ ra-i ra^-r^ "bj fg=j raJ raJ raJ pg-i i^^ifg^'fr^ raJ r^-i r^ raJ Ii^ 




CHAPTER V. 

NE day, a good many months later, 
passing along Pall Mall, Tom saw 
Edward Vane standing on the steps of his 
club talking to another man. Edward looked 
much as usual except that his hair had 
turned grey and that his mirthless smile 
seemed stereotyped. 

Edward prepared his customary salute ; 
in fact he wanted to speak to Tom and 
began to excuse himself to his companion. 
But after all he left that sentence of excuse 
unfinished and resumed a discussion on the 
next election ; for Tom had made not the 
faintest response to his salutation. Edward 
guessed from this that he knew about Grace. 

On her flight, Grace had sent her lover a 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 253 

letter saying they should meet no more, but 
that she had no Intention of exposing him : 
she added that she was going to California, 
having a vague Idea of thus baffling pursuit. 

" She never could keep her mind for 
an hour together," thought Edward angrily ; 
'* no doubt she repented that letter, came to 
England and has Informed every one out of 
pure folly. I dare say she's In London at 
this very moment. Well— I don't mean to 
take any trouble about her," he ended philo- 
sophically. 

Meantime Tom was walking slowly along, 
considering what he ought to do. Merely 
to ignore the man was not enough ; but then 
there was Llllth's feeling on the matter to be 
considered. Tom's way led through a short 
cut, a narrow unfrequented passage between 
the walls of a workhouse and the blind side 
of a church. The passage was ill lit and 
little used. At six on this foggy January 
evening It was already very dark. An old, 
tattered, shrunken and feeble personage. 



254 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

a beggar by appearance, with a thin white 
beard and a wandering eye, was the only 
person beside Tom in this passage, and he 
lingered there holding on with one hand to 
the solitary lamp-post. As Tom went by he 
drew out of his ragged and buttoned coat, 
a pocket pistol ; and presented it at him with 
his finger on the trigger. No result however 
followed, beyond a surprised start on Tom's 
part. He passed on safely ; after a minute 
or two however he returned to the beggar 
who stood still in his former attitude. 

*' What are you up to, old gentleman .^ " 
said Tom. 

The beggar laughed, turning away a little. 
'* It's not loaded," he said, as Tom took the 
weapon from him. It was of excellent 
workmanship and the latest pattern ; new, 
a most expensive article and altogether 
unsuitable to a ragged beggar. Tom ceased 
to think the man a murderer and began to 
suppose him a thief. He followed, as the 
old man stumbled away in the direction he 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 255 

had himself been pursuing. Presently a 
clock gave the quarter after six ; and the 
beggar now produced a very good gold 
watch and set it accurately. " Thirty-three 
minutes to wait," he muttered to himself, 
shambling on again. Something in his voice 
seemed to Tom not unfamiliar. He followed 
him into an alley ; and when he had entered 
a shabby house Tom knocked at its door. 
A slattern appeared. 

" Who's that old fellow who has just gone 
in.?" 

''That's the gent in No. 3 of the top. 
Are you the City missionary, sir .-^ " 

" Suppose I am ?" said Tom. 

" Oh well, sir, if you'd just step in. I'd 
like if you could catch an 'old of that hold 
gent, sir. They do say as he's a miser, 
and to my thinking he ain't right witted. 
And 'as no un belonging to him ; and if 
you're the missionary, sir, and could catch 
an 'old of 'im, I'd a deal sooner he was out 
of my 'ouse, sir." 



256 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

*' Show me his room," said the supposed 
missionary. 

The slattern led him up many stairs, and 
pointed to a door with a crack in it. 

*' If you'd wish to 'vestergate a bit first, 
sir, you can look through 'ere. It's through 
'ere Mrs. Burls see 'im a countin' gold 
soverings in the middle of the night." 

Tom took a peep through the crack, and 
what he saw was the old man loading the 
pistol. 

"I think I'll not go in just at present," 
said Tom ; ** I am not the City missionary, 
but I believe I know your lodger and I'll 
look after him." 

As Tom had expected, the old man after 
a time came out again, and made for the 
dark passage ; a strange, furtive, intent look 
in his sunken eyes. The time was nearing 
twelve minutes to seven. Tom made a 
ddtottr and reached the head of the passage 
without being seen. There was the old 
man lying in wait as before by the lamp- 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 257 

post, his right hand thrust into the breast 
of his coat, where no doubt was the pistol. 
That previous silly little episode had been 
his dress rehearsal for the performance 
coming on now. 

The clock chimed for the three-quarters ; 
then a woman went down the passage ; then 
two men arm in arm, in earnest conver- 
sation. The old man never moved. Then 
came a single figure walking swiftly, with 
the upright carriage and easy gait of a 
gentleman. 

Tom understood now ; it was Edward 
Vane. 

In the fog, Edward passed Tom without 
seeing him ; but he quickened his step a 
little when presently he felt himself fol- 
lowed, and by a tall strong-stepping man 
who had sprung into being he knew not 
whence. That dark passage had ere now 
been the scene of robberies. After a 
minute Edward saw the old man lurking 
by the lamp-post, his silhouette pretty plain 

VOL. III. 57 



258 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

in the lamplight. Was he some unclean 
old Jew in a mangy gaberdine ? The 
passage was unpleasant to-night, and he 
quickened his foot again. 

Then a word was flung across the gloomy 
silence, a word which seemed to echo on 
and on, thrown back from one blank wall 
to the other. 

"Grace!" 

That word, and the gleam of the pistol in 
the old man s hand brought Edward to a full 
stop. And at the same moment Tom had 
placed himself between the crazy assassin 
and the intended victim. The old man had 
been too much excited to observe that 
Edward was followed ; the moment he saw 
Tom he recognized that it was checkmate ; 
and he offered no resistance as the weapon 
was taken from his now nerveless grasp. 
No one spoke; but the three faces were 
pale, and each sought the others' for an 
explanation. Then three or four persons, 
one a policeman, passed without noticing 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 259 

anything, for the gloom made vision diffi- 
cult, and there were no voices nor evidence 
of a row. 

Presently the old man shuffled off in the 
wake of the strangers, and neither Tom nor 
Edward detained him. 

'' It is old Kidson, isn't it ? " said Ed- 
ward, still rather pale, but straightening 
himself and speaking with his usual calm. 
'' His disguise is good but not impene- 
trable. May I ask the meaning of this 
tomfoolery ? " 

He took the pistol from Tom's hand and 
turned it about carelessly. 

'* Loaded, is it ? You seem to have a 
fancy for saving my life, Tom. Allow me 
to thank you for the second rescue of a 
possession I prize so highly." 

Tom made no response, and Edward went 
on, the shock to his nerves betraying him 
into a sort of garrulity. 

" It was really very dramatic ; but was 
old Kidson play-acting, or has he become 



26o THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

insane ? Not that I care ; old KIdson never 
had the importance of a brass farthing to 
me. I hear he is leaving all his money to 
a Protestant College in Rome : that seems 
hardly respectful to his daughter's religious 
opinions." 

As he spoke the last phrase he and Tom 
eyed each other keenly. 

" You speak of Grace so ? " said Tom. 
" By the way — I have an idea that you 
can inform me, Tom — where is Grace 
Kidson ? " 

The light tone was almost beyond Tom's 
endurance, yet there was something in the 
man's face which recalled to him Lilith's 
words — *' But I think perhaps he does care." 
" If you go to Kensal Green," said Tom, 
slowly, '' you will with a little searching find 
her grave — hers and her child's." 

Edward started visibly. " Good heavens ! 
Hers ? Is she dead ? Grace ? " 

"Is it anything to you ? " asked Tom. 
Edward recovered himself. '' Oh no. 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 26 1 

Not much. I have no reason to suppose 
she valued her Hfe more than I do mine. 
But is she dead } " 

" She died in my house ; nursed by LiHth. 
Six months ago." 

" Nursed by Lilith ! " echoed Edward, 
faintly. 

*' You must do her justice," said Tom, 
presently ; ** so long as she was conscious 
she refused to tell us your name." 

"Oh," said Edward, quickly, ''that I con- 
clude was out of regard for Lilith's feelings 
— not for mine. Don't imagine she cared 
for me. I have never been so fortunate as 
to win a woman s love in my life. That 
makes me a little callous, you see. I say 
quite frankly, Tom, I am glad Grace Kidson 
is dead. And I am sorry if she gave any 
trouble to Lilith ; who used not to like sick 
people, nor intruding into improper secrets." 
He was leaning against the wall, and by the 
lamplight, Tom could see his grey hair, and 
his face become grey also and haggard, as 



262 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

he talked so lightly. *' Good-bye, Tom ; it 
is late and I am going to a dinner-party. 
You would rather I didn't say au revoir, I 
think ? Give my love to your wife, please, 
and tell her you stepped between me and 
the shot. Women like that kind of thing. 
Look here, Tom : " he stood erect, " a truce 
to this cant. You wanted to fight me once 
and I think called me ugly names for hang- 
ing back. Will you meet me now ^. I am 
in earnest." 

Evidently too, he was In earnest. 

Tom reddened and shook his head. '' It's 
too late," he said, *' and would only distress 
Lllith. We can mend nothing now." 

He was angry with himself that he could 
not express the entire contempt and burning 
indignation which he felt. Edward bowed 
ironically, and they parted ; walking rapidly 
in opposite directions, each busy with his 
thoughts. 

'* I wish I could believe enough in 
heredity," said Edward to himself, "to think 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 263 

Tom would follow his father to the dogs 
yet. As matters stand at present, I should 
like to be he. Which is saying a good deal. 
Let no man's statement of dissatisfaction be 
relied on till he can point to some other chap 
and say honestly, ' I'd give my soul to be 
he!'" 

But Edward Vane for once in his life felt 
unequal to a dinner-party, and he fled to the 
solitude of his house at Moles worthy. He 
was suffering from disgust with his present 
and distaste for his future. If it was not 
remorse it was hardly pleasanter ; and he 
spoke truth when he said, shrugging his 
shoulders, '' Of the two of us, Grace is 
infinitely the better off." 



^^^^ 




CHAPTER VI. 

HEN Tom got home he told Llllth the 
whole adventure, and it seemed to 
her that he spoke of Edward with surprising 
gentleness. 

On the following morning his first care 
was to look after Sir Joseph Kidson ; indeed 
he blamed himself a little for the twelve 
hours' delay. He walked into the bare room 
without knocking, and found the unhappy 
old man just risen from a pallet bed and 
breakfasting on a crust. Yesterday's air of 
alertness and cunning had vanished from his 
starved and pallid countenance ; his manner 
now was wholly that of one dejected and 
spent. The poor wretch on becoming aware 
of a visitor rose from his only chair with just 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 265 

the embarrassment which the poor old man 
he appeared would have felt on the un- 
expected intrusion of a patron. 

** You know me, Sir Joseph ? " 

" Yes, Tom, yes. Of course I know you. 
What do you want ? I'm all right. It's my 
whim to live here." 

" So I see. And about that job last night, 
Sir Joseph ? " 

" I'll have him yet," shouted the old man 
with feeble excitement, "and you, Tom — 
you'd never have interfered to hinder me if 
you had known a little more about that 
dainty gentleman." 

" I rather think I know quite as much of 
him as you do," said Tom ; " my wife says 
we only know his black side, which I grant 
you is black enough. But, my dear sir, 
shooting won't mend anything." 

*' That's all very well for you. You've 
got nothing to make such a great grudge 
against him. It's different with me. It's not 
so much anything he's done to me himself. 



266 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

But he's a tempting devil. He made my 
girl wicked, and he's made me wicked ; and 
I'm not going to try to forgive him." 

'' I suppose not ; but if you make a criminal 
of yourself you'll be playing directly into his 
hands ; according to your view of him," said 
Tom. 

Sir Joseph looked up weakly and 
whimpered a little. 

'' I wish I was dead," he muttered. ** This 
six months I've lived just for this one thing. 
What else is the good of me ? " 

Tom sat down near him on the end of the 
bed. 

'' Not much, certainly, living here. Have 
you lost your money. Sir Joseph, or what's 
the sense of it '^ " 

" Lost my money ? How should I lose 
my money ? I'm coining money, I am. I 
could wish I'd kept harder at work though : 
my brains began to woolgather as soon as 
I slackened off. But I'm coining money all 
the same. It's little I draw out of the bank, 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE. 267 

but in this very room, Tom," he lowered his 
voice and looked round furtively, '' I've got 
— how much do you suppose I've got now ? " 

" Then why live here ? " repeated Tom, 
with exaggerated bluntness. 

The old man whimpered again, covering 
his face w^ith his hands. 

*' I couldn't bear it ; there at your place, 
with footmen and all that ; and my lady gone, 
and Jack Palmer's boy a beggar ; and my 
girl dead, and a bad un." 

'' My dear sir," said Tom, taking his 
hands, " Jack Palmer's boy at any rate is as 
contented as a king, so don't waste any pity 
on him. Come now — this is ridiculous, your 
skulking here like a miser. Go and spend 
your money. What was that college in 
Rome you were going to set on its legs 
again ? A very valuable institution, you 
told me. Suppose you set off and see it, if 
you want a holiday from the Court for a 
while ? " 

'' It's to convert the poor papists," said Sir 



2 68 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Joseph, looking up, " it's those damned 
papists who got round my poor girl and did 
all the mischief. That Edward Vane was 
one of 'em : a disguised Jesuit." 

" Ah yes ! I knew you were interested in 
attacking Jesuits. Go and travel, Sir Joseph. 
Take Harris with you. He's a good fellow, 
Harris : we were always chums. And that 
parson chap you had at the Court with you ; 
take the two of them and go and rout the 
Pope in his capital. Don't hide here. Sir 
Joseph, thinking of crimes. Once you get 
a walk in the sunshine on the other side of 
the Channel, you'll see the shooting business 
as I do, and thank me for rooting you out. 
Come ! " 

Sir Joseph rose as if struggling to obey 
this masterful invader ; but fell back weakly 
into his one chair, nearly overturning it, for 
it was small and rickety. 

" I've grown old, Tom," murmured the 
poor wretch, '* and I'm h'ill." 

" I see you are ill. It comes of living 



THE TRAGEDY OF GRACE, 269 

here. You want a fire, and a soft bed, and 
mutton chops, and some one to look after 
you. I'll tell you what ! Come home with 
me to Lilith ! " 

Sir Joseph shrank away. '' No — no. I 
never was one for women, except her lady- 
ship ; and my poor girl ; and they're gone, 
both of 'em. I wouldn't for my life have 
your lady see me like this. She's a proud 
young thing. I remember her, I do, in that 
hole of a place in Egypt where we saw her 
first, and that damned Jesuit Vane with her." 

** Lilith wasn't then as proud as you 
thought," said Tom, "and she has been 
through the mill since. She nursed Grace •; 
and she will be very good to you, Sir Joseph, 
if you will come." 

No persuasion however would induce Sir 
Joseph to accept this offer. Tom had to 
content himself with a promise that he would 
look for Doctor Harris and his chaplain at 
Turold Royal. 

The unhappy dotard had kept some decent 



270 ' THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

clothes concealed with his bank notes in 
a wooden box under his bed. Tom got him 
dressed, though in the creased coat and with 
his unshaven face and wild hair he still 
looked strange enough. Then his deliverer 
took him to Waterloo and put him in the 
train, having telegraphed to Harris to meet 
him at Molesworthy. Even with this pre- 
caution ;Tom felt nervous about him, and 
tipped the guard heavily to look after the 
old gentleman. 

Afterwards he learned that Sir Joseph 
reached the Court safely, and that the 
chaplain and the private secretary and all 
the servants were a good deal surprised 
at his eccentric appearance. But they put 
it all down to illness, and Doctor Harris 
at once sent him to bed, and it is to be 
feared, overfed him ; not being aware that 
for months he had been starving himself on 
sixpence a day. 



CONCLUSION. 

ILBERT TUROLD, rather hard up 
for something to do, had made a 
voyage in a friend's yacht to New Zealand 
and back ; and though he sent Lilith 
regular letters, he somehow got behind- 
hand in the receipt of news from home. 
In fact, owing to a series of accidents 
and blunders he was left for over three 
months without any tidings of his daughter 
at all, and became not a little anxious in 
consequence. At last he had the pleasure 
of writing : 

" On such and such a day we hope to be in South- 
ampton. I shall come straight to you, my love, trusting 
you will have a corner to spare for a day or two." 

This letter he directed to Lilith's home 
in Chelsea. Very tedious the end of his 



2 72 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

voyage seemed to Mr. Turold, but at last 
one particularly dark and gloomy November 
evening, the Navm^re sailed into port; and 
just as Gilbert was going to spring on shore 
he found his hands grasped by his son-in-law 
who had come to meet him. 

''There is nothing wrong at home, I hope, 
Tom ? " 

'* Nothing whatever. Haven't you had 
our letters ? " 

" Nothing since July. Is Lilith well } '' 

" Perfectly well." 

" And the boy ? I am most anxious about 
that important boy." 

'' The boy is well too." 

** And — he has no brother yet ? " 

'' Not yet." 

" Dear, dear ! I had hoped Well, 

well— then all is going on as usual ? " 

" Exactly as usual," said Tom. 

" Dear me ! I might have spared myself 
many anxious forebodings. Can we get to 
London to-night, Tom ? " 



CONCLUSION. 273 



'* Yes, by a slow train. I have telegraphed 
to Lilith. She will expect us." 

Tom took the tickets and soon they were 
established in the railway carriage. 

" But I have quite given up travelling 
first-class," grumbled Gilbert; "you might 
have thought twice about it yourself, I should 
have thouorht." 

*' I am rather in funds at this moment," 
said Tom, apologetically. 

" Got some new pupils, eh ? " said Mr. 
Turold, who tried hard to take a decent 
interest in his son-in-law's very extraordinary 
profession. 

" That's it," replied Tom. 

"This compartment is certainly comfort- 
able. I fear I shall doze. After a cabin 

berth Goodness me ! It's an indignity 

to stow a man away on a shelf like a piece of 
crockery. I shall never again go to sea for 
pleasure. And very tired I got of my com- 
panions I assure you, and of their arrange- 
ments. I'd never have gone, if I'd known 

VOL. III. 58 



2 74' THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

they did things so badly. Well, it's over 
now, thank heaven." 

After a while he grumbled again at having 
only one grandson ; otherwise they talked 
little. Tom seemed designedly silent, and 
Mr. Turold began to ask himself again if 
anything could be wrong. Then he fell 
asleep, and was greatly startled when his 
son-in-law waked him up at a roadside 
station. 

''We must get out," said Tom, already 
possessed of the rugs. 

'' It's an accident, I suppose ? " said Gilbert, 
trying to seem awake ; and was bustled on 
to a platform before he could collect his wits. 
The night was moonless, foggy and very 
dark ; the solitary porter in the little station 
obsequiously polite to Tom, as if he knew 
him. 

''Is the carriage here ? " said Tom, and 
in a moment Mr. Turold and he were roll- 
ing away into the night in a one-horse 
brougham. 



CONCLUSION. 275 



'* What in the world Is the meaning of 
this ? " asked the elder gentleman, rather 
angry. 

''Did I not explain?" returned Tom, 
innocently. '* I forgot you had not had our 
letters. We have taken a cottage in the 
country for a few weeks." 

'' A cottage in the country ? Dear me ! 
Well, it sounds a good plan. But what 
becomes of your work ? " 

" Oh-— I go to town daily." 

" What, all this way ? " 

" It is not far. You slept longer than you 
thought." 

" Oh, I beg your pardon. I was merely 
shutting my eyes to keep the dust out. I 
was not asleep for more than five minutes." 
Tom let this very untrue statement pass. 
''What's the name of that station you 
dragged me out at ? " 

" Hawley," said Tom, drawing on his 
imagination. 

" Never heard of it. It's too far for you 



276 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

to go to town every day. That kind of 
thing ruins the nerves. What's the name 
of your house '^ " 

'^ It is just called— the Cottage." 

" You've got it by the month, I sup- 
pose ? " 

" By the week, I think. The accommoda- 
tion is roughish. Still we are hoping you'll 
stay some time " 

"Oh — well, thank you. But I had no 
idea you weren't in town : we'll see. This 
seems a good road we are on now. Whose 
carriage is this ? " 

" It goes with the house." 

'* Goes with the house ? It seems a nice 
new one, and a fast horse. I should say 
we were going too fast for such a dark 
night." 

" It's a sort of private road just here. 
We shan't meet anything; it's past mid- 
night, you know." 

"• Past midnight .'^ Nonsense. Well, I 
suppose then I did doze longer than I 



CONCLUSION. 277 



thought. That must have been a very- 
slow train. I should have thought that by 
midnight we should have got at least as 
far as Molesworthy." 

Mr. Turold relapsed into silence and his 
head was beginning to nod afresh when Tom 
said abruptly : 

" Here we are ; " and the carriage stopped, 
and again the traveller was bustled about 
confusingly. He stumbled up a flight of 
alarming stone steps. 

'* Really, Tom, I'd put a light some- 
where. It's dangerous. And I see it's a 
badly built house ; only the modern specu- 
lative builder puts a whole staircase to the 
door of a cottage." 

Tom pushed open a door and in a 
moment they were in a large hall, made 
radiant by the beams of an Evening Sunrise 
Lamp. 

" What, in the name of heaven " 

began Gilbert Turold, but his exclamations 
were cut short by Lilith who came running 



278 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

forwards and flung herself into her father's 
arms. Mr. Turold clasped her affection- 
ately, becoming gradually conscious that she 
was dressed in velvet, and that Tom was 
laughing. He dropped his daughter abruptly 
and looked round. The facts were indubit- 
able. Either he was asleep still and dream- 
ing, or he was in the familiar hall of the 
Court at Turold Royal. 

**What in the name of heaven " re- 
peated Gilbert, but got no answer, for his 
daughter and her husband still only laughed. 
Lilith was, most certainly, dressed in the 
best Lyons velvet, though only in a negligd 
sort of thing called a tea-gown ; and her 
hair suggested a lady's-maid ; even her 
delicate shoes and silk stockings were not 
lost upon her father, who used sometimes to 
think her really too shabby even for a 
musician's wife in Chelsea. 

** You have been telling me lies the whole 
way up from Southampton ! " said Gilbert, 
indignantly turning to his son-in-law. 



CONCLUSION. 279 



** Oh papa dear," said Lilith, '' it was too 
tempting. You hadn't had our letters, and it 
was such a dark night, and you were sleepy." 

** Then do you mean to tell me, Tom, I 
got out at Moles worthy ? " 

'* No, at Crockford. I was afraid you'd 
recognize Molesworthy." 

'' Oh, at Crockford. That explains some 
of it. I always hated Crockford. But not 
to know my own hall-door steps " 

At this moment a familiar voice said, 
" Glad to see you arrived safe home, sir," 
and Gilbert turned and saw Yates. So 
delighted was he that he shook hands with 
him effusively, and then was nearly knocked 
down by Tamburlaine who had sloped in 
after the butler and suddenly recognized his 
old orod. 

Tom called for supper and Lilith took 
her father's hand and led him gaily into the 
fine old dining-hall, where rather a stately 
repast was laid out with much of the family 
plate polished up to untold beauty. Tom 



28o THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

recklessly poured out some very choice wine 
and gave a toast, '' To all our healths," and 
Yates said '' Amen, sir. Amen," and seemed 
to be choking a sob. 

" But what in the name of heaven " 

began Mr. Turold again ; but they stopped 
his questions with food this time and allowed 
no explanations yet. 

" Really," said Gilbert, apologizing for his 
appetite, *' this kind of thing is very nice. 
They had a vile cook on that yacht, and I 
have not tasted venison since " 

'' Since we were turned out, papa," said 
Lilith ; " never mind, we shan't be turned 
out again. To-morrow you shall choose the 
rooms you like best for a permanence." 

" A permanence '^. Do you reckon on being 
here permanently ? Tom told me he had 
taken a cottage by the week." 

*' We are here permanently, papa. I put 
on my best tea-gown to show you that." 

'* My dear, it has impressed me greatly. 
But what in the name of " 



CONCLUSION. 281 



" And papa, you know It was always my 
plan that you and Tom and I should live 
cosily here together." 

*' My love, that showed your childishness. 
It would never have answered." 

** Perhaps not, then, papa. But you see 
everything is changed now\ It is Tom who 
has proposed my plan now." 

''Tom and I will discuss it to-morrow," 
said Mr. Turold, kissing her; "I'll venture 
to promise, Lillth, that at least we won't 
quarrel about it." 

" And papa — It would be such a satisfac- 
tion to me if — ^just look at him, papa — if you 
would admit that Tom is nice looking. You 
alw^ays spoke in such an unconvinced sort of 
way about that." 

" It was a very poor thing to choose a 
husband for, Lillth," said her father vigor- 
ously. 

After supper they went into the library 
for half an hour; and Gilbert Turold was 
placed in his favourite chair, Lillth on the 



282 ' THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

floor at his knee, and Tom sitting on the 
table beside him. There was a roaring fire 
in the great fireplace ; and the iron dogs, with 
H. and J. on them for Henry VIII. and 
Jane Seymour, were in position. Tambur- 
laine who remembered the family changes 
looked graver than usual, as he studied 
one human countenance after another in the 
hope of understanding more exactly what 
was happening. And at last came the 
explanations. 

"We came home two months ago, papa," 
said Lilith, " and such a reception as we 
had! They took the horses out of the 
carriage and dragged us up from the station, 
and there was a triumphal arch and the 
children threw geraniums at us. Tom had 
made himself very popular here when he 
taught the choir and started that cricket 
club. No one seemed to think him a 
stranger and old Adam Gardener says he's 
the image of grandpapa. Then a great 
crowd came and stood under the windows 



CONCLUSION. 283 



making a noise, and we didn't know how to 
get rid of them. The children scrambled 
for half-pence and Tom made a sort of 
speech ; and then they got me out and 
baby ; though baby was cross and I had a 
very ugly dress on, never thinking there was 
going to be any fuss. And after all that, it 
does seem a shame to smuggle you in like 
this in the middle of the night. How well 
Tom kept the cat in the bag ! Almost too 
well, when he let you say the steps must 
have been put up by a speculative builder ! " 

" But my dear child, what in the name of 
heaven " 

'* We've been in such a hurry getting 
ready for you, papa. There was a lot to 
be done. Some of the furniture had been 
moved and the panelling taken down. It 
isn't quite restored yet, but it will be all 
right in a week or two. And Tom has been 
writing to all the people who bought things 
in the auction and offering fabulous prices if 
they can get them back for us." 



284 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

** I've done nothing about the cauls yet,'* 
murmured Tom, *' and Perkin Warbeck's 
head went bad (I knew It was going) and 
has been burled." 

" And papa — it was Tom himself who 
bought us back that old chest and bit of 
tapestry before ever we were married. He 
has had to confess It. And oh, all the old 
servants have come back, papa ; even Bowles 
who disliked me so much : and he's quite 
civil now, and thinks baby beautiful." 

" But what in heaven's name — Lilith, I 
will be answered this time," said Gilbert, 
very angrily ; " what in the world is the 
meaning of It ? " 

Lilith glanced at her husband and kept 
silence. Tom took up the parable. He 
pointed to the tall lamp in the corner, which, 
turned low, was shedding its gentle lustre 
over the big room and the family party on 
the hearth-rug. 

'* That is the meaning of it," he said. 
'*0h don't be alarmed. I recognize the 



CONCLUSION, 285 



responsibility of Turold of Turold Royal. 
I haven't even a share in the business now. 
I have sold it. It has produced quite as 
much as we want and may make some other 
folks' fortune now." 

" Tom is very rich, papa," put In Lllith, 
" much richer than you thought when you 
first said he might marry me. I tell you 
because at one time you talked as if money 
was so very important." 

*' What I want, Tom, is the explanation. 
The facts seem satisfactory enough," said 
Gilbert. 

" That lamp," said Tom, putting his hand 
on Lllith's neck and drawing her nearer to 
him, "that lamp was invented by a man 
named John Palmer, who was as you know 
more than a father to me. He intended to 
make my fortune with it. But that traitor 
lamp was his ruin, for another man stole his 
secret and secured his patent. At the time 
I had no idea how it happened, but I know 
all about It now. It's an old story — never 



286 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

mind it : only henceforth that oil is to be 
known not as Kidson's Sunrise, but as 
Palmer's ; very few people will notice the 
change, but I have effected it, and honour 
shall be paid where honour is due." 

** Well ? " 

** Well — poor old Kidson knew he had 
cheated his oldest friend, and the big pile he 
made never comforted him. He got richer 
and richer, but his wife died, and his 
daughter left her home, and died too, very 
sadly ; and he had no other relations and 
very few friends, and the man who had made 
his fortune turned out his worst enemy. 
Kidson s heart broke, and his wits gave way, 
and he did queer things and lived miserably, 
hiding in corners and starving himself. At 
last he made up his mind to return to the 
world and cheer up a bit ; but the effort was 
too great, and he was one morning found 
dead in his bed in this very house. He had 
talked of leaving his money to some charity 



CONCLUSION. 287 



he was interested in — in Rome wasn't it, 
Lilith ? — but when he was dead it was found 
he had given up that idea. It was a 
surprise, I may say a shock, to me when 1 
learned what he had done, till I remembered 
how it was he had acquired so much to 
leave, and how remorseful he had been. He 
left everything, his business, his pile, every- 
thing he had, to me ; to the adopted son of 
John Palmer who made that oil and invented 
that lamp. It is quite true what Lilith 
says ; we are very rich." 

There was a short silence ; then Tom 
added in a voice of some emotion : 

*' My hope is that John Palmer, my dear 
father, from the good place he has gone to, 
can see us three together here, and knows 
that his son hasn't forgotten him." 

Gilbert Turold, without speaking, took his 
nephew's hand and pressed it. And then 
there was a long silence, only broken by 
the applauding strokes of old Tamburlaine's 



288 ' THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

tail on the floor. At last Lilith rose, with 
a little laugh and looked up in her husband's 
face, and said : 

*' Dear me, Tom ! How glad I am you 
tumbled off your donkey at Luxor. It was 
the beginning of it all. I didn't think much 
of you till then, sir ; whatever it may have 
pleased you to have been thinking of me ! " 



THE END. 



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LONDON AND BECCLES. St. Qj' H.